I’ve decided to try out a few different monthly subscription services just to see what all the buzz is about. Some of them are cheaper than my coffee habit and since I’ve been making coffee at home instead of getting Starbucks, I figured why not. But in this little experiment, I realized how easy it is to get carried away. How easy it is to spend all of my money on something I don’t really need.
I’ve had my eye on Stitch Fix for a while. Who doesn’t want to the amazing feeling of having a personal stylist who handpicks pieces for you to wear? You tell them what you want to try, or what occasion you have coming up, and they put together amazing pieces just for you. There really isn’t a better way for an author/editor who works from home to go from feeling lazy to chic.
So I went for it. I scheduled my Fix and told them I wanted to try out some comfy chic. I put together my Pinterest board full of things I love and waited. Finally my box got here and it was basically everything that I loved.
Anyone who has seen me around lately knows how much I’ve been wearing stripes. Honestly, I blame my husband. I’m also one of those weird people who feels like stripes actually make me look thinner. I was pretty happy when I saw a striped shirt in my fix. There was also a polka dot dress that was super cute (and something that I had pinned), a long cardigan with elbow pads, another more casual dress, and a maroon infinity scarf.
They had sent me all pieces that I loved, that fit perfectly, and that fit into my current aesthetic. But in decided if I wanted to keep all of the pieces or not, I faltered. Did I really want to spend money on clothes that mimic what’s already in my closet? Did I really need another striped sweater or another polka dot dress?
I needed to be honest with myself, and with my closet, as I filled the pre-paid return envelope. I didn’t need yet another maroon infinity scarf. I didn’t need another striped shirt or another polka dot dress. I didn’t own anything like the long cardigan (I’m a J. Crew cardigan girl) and the gray dress was something I knew I’d wear a ton. So I kept two pieces and send feedback to my stylist, saying that she was perfect but I needed to mix things up next time. Then I went through my closet, sold some (never even worn) ModCloth dresses on PoshMark, and put together another bag of clothes to donate.
Spending money, for me, solves so many problems. It makes me feel happy, makes me feel like for a second or two some hole in my life has been closed up. I feel like any problem I’m having an be fixed if I just order the perfect new sweater or spend $20 on a t-shirt at Target.
Or, let’s equate this to the writing world.
I have a list of go-to freelance editors that I, personally, would work with. With my book launch drawing closer and closer, I’m feeling desperate for feedback. I want to know that changing certain parts were the right choice. I want to know that my opening is solid and catch’s readers attention. I know I don’t have time to be a proper CP (after a second failed attempt this year), so that means I need beta readers. Or, I turn to paying another person to look over my book. Another person to give me feedback that may or may not be conflicting with the feedback I’ve already received.
As a freelance editor, of course I want you to seek out as many opinions as possible, especially if that opinion is mine. But here’s a secret: you don’t need to. It’s easy to get scared and want many opinions–opinions that you think will be good, that will help you doubt yourself less. Because freelance developmental editors aren’t here to give their opinion about a book. Their job is to find dig into your manuscript and find all of the weaknesses and direct you on how to fix them. If anything, getting more eyes on your book is going to make you doubt your book more, not less.
So when that doubt sets in, find a critique partner or a beta reader and ask them to point out more of what’s working than what’s not. Be honest with them that you just really need a cheerleader right now because it’s been months and months of negative feedback and you don’t take it anymore. You don’t need to spend every dollar you have on feedback for your book because at the end of the day you’re the one who is going to be doing the work. Not your critique partner, your beta reader, or your editor. You. And you need to be ready for that.
So send back the shirt that looks like everything else in your closet. Don’t buy feedback from a sixth editor because you need to feel validated in what you’re doing. Don’t overcomplicate a situation that has an easy solution.
Do the work that needs to be done.