Waiting for Critique

In the memoir genre, about 70,000 words forms a standard book.  As I cruised past 40,000 words on my project, I thought about the haphazard content I’d typed in double-spaced format.  It was likely time for a professional review and I turned to my cousin Cindy in Los Angeles, who had mentioned she had some writing contacts if I were ever in the market for them.  Cindy dutifully sent along “M”‘s name and put us in touch. As it turns out, M had an intimidating writing pedigree, schooled at a well-known college under the tutelage of a renowned American author, as well as having several published titles to her name.  When I laid out my story, an amazing thing happened.  M told me that she too had been burned at a young age, a casualty of trying to be cool by smoking in a closet.  “Unless I wear a short sleeve top, no one notices,” she said referencing the burns on her arm.  What are the chances that I’d so quickly find a writing professional who would understand the very personal nature of burns?  As luck would have it, M’s plate was full and she did not have time to serve as my critique professional.  Instead, she put me in touch with her similarly pedigreed writing friend “K”. Eagerly I contacted K, who did not have a burn injury to share but rather a witty life story of life as an outsider of sorts in southern Indiana.  More importantly, she had time at hand.  After some hand-wringing, I looked over my project, divided it into 3 parts, packaged up Part I as ready fir review, closed my eyes and hit the “send” button.  And now I wait.  Wondering if my book, or at least the initial piece of it, might pass professional muster,  might have story enough to be told that it has a literary life.  And I wait.


  1. Thank you for subscribing to my blog. Glad you enjoyed the post. My blog is making it’s way into a book, so reading your site is quite encouraging. I’m at about 60,000 words so have a way to go and so much more of the story to be told with a very pleasant surprise to tell to the world.

    God LOVES you, I KNOW it!

    Warm regards,


  2. Hi Anne. I am blessed that I came across your blog. Your life touches mine. I’m praying for your journey and for the fulfillment of your ultimate goal. May God bless you tremendously so you can be a blessing to the people around you.


    1. Many thanks for your sweet and encouraging thoughts. It’s a beautiful thing when we can all support each other’s projects from our distant points in the world. Thank you so much and blessings back to you. Anne


  3. Your project seems to be taking quite a few mystic turns! I, too, am seeing 10’s of thousands of words on paper in my project and am concerned about length. Feels like the story hasn’t even started!!! Thanks for the guideline of words above. Very helpful. Sounds like you’re screaming along on yours. Something to be applauded.


    1. Glen — a little help from the mystical realm might be what we all need, huh? I know what you mean about words, words, words. My goal is getting all of them down on paper and then having a professional sift and winnow with me. At some point, we lose perspective! Tell me more about where you are with your project!


  4. I applaud all of your efforts! As far as the critique goes… it will be good. I remember my first art courses where the instructor brought the whole class over to show what was wrong with your drawing. My heart would drop- but he also gave me good feedback when I did something well. You have an amazing story to tell. And from what I can see from your blog- a very good writing style. You must have had good English teachers along the way… 😀 I look forward to the next installment!


    1. Cammy — thank you for the encouragement! I stress out about the ‘next installment’ every week but somehow something comes along. Open to all ideas if you have them! Thank you. Love your art class story. So true. Anne


  5. The editor toughens us writers up for the agent, who is a pussy cat compared to the publisher. By the time you’re published, nothing will bother you. Good luck.


  6. “Hang in there, Baby” says the picture depicting a kitten hanging by it’s paws from a swing. I see it every time my Dentist tilts me back in his chair, leaving me to face the ceiling where the poster is hung. I’m sure it’s been there since the 80’s but the message still holds true. But just for good measure, I’ll cross my fingers for you too. ~ K.L. Parry


    1. K.L. – Love that. My mother always used to say, “You get used to hanging if you hang long enough.” There’s truth to that and that ole kitten poster. Funny. Keep fingers crossed. Thank you.


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