Hello, Beta Readers

If you were paying attention, you might remember in Oct 2020, I had given up on the idea of writing another book on being single. “I would just blog about it,” I wrote to you all.

I mentioned my dilemma to a writer friend, and she said, “You can write about being single. Just end there. Your current dating life and what happens next doesn’t have to be in this book. You don’t have to know how your life ends!” She really unblocked me. Over the holidays, I rallied.

When I had about 50,000 words for my second memoir, I couldn’t wait to send them out to beta readers. This time, five women, to be exact. A trusted editor, an author who teaches writing, a freshman in college, a middle-aged professor teaching software design, and a retiree in her 70s. Everyone had read my first memoir and knows me personally except the author, whom I just found. Different age groups and backgrounds but all love books.

“This opening doesn’t work for me at all!” One of them said. Yet, another person thought I painted the perfect beginning. I got second opinions. My writer’s group of about a dozen people also didn’t love it.

I will rethink the opening. It has to be a hook and compelling. My writer’s group told me, “Readers want to be entertained.” They don’t know me personally. Why else would they pick up my book!

“The chapter on working felt like a resume!” That sounds horrible. I need to go back to it.

“How about skip schizophrenia all together?” I’d thought about that. Yes, I wouldn’t want to have too much overlap between the two memoirs. But my newest reader thought that was a moving part and wanted more of it.

Anyone who read my first memoir would be shocked how little schizophrenia factored into the rest of my life. But it’s still there in a small role. I’m not sure I can talk about my life without even mentioning it.

Regardless of agreeing or disagreeing, I love hearing what people think of my writing. I love sending my words out to the world. I am energized by that. I hope I have the wisdom to listen to what my betas say to me, find the gems, even though it’s ultimately my story to tell. (My beta readers, thank you!)

I hope to do better with blogging in 2021.

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