One day, the time comes for you to send your baby off to a friend's house/computer to watch over it while you do something else. Though you love it, you need a break from it. You need someone else to tell you how simply marvelous it is, and how genuinely genius you are for creating such a masterpiece. Yes, you're nervous. It's your baby's first time out in the big world and you want to keep it safe from ALL harm. But deep down, you know the date night with your spouse/partner or that much needed, relaxing bath is far worth letting your baby go for an evening.
Then, something unexpected happens. That sitter you sent your baby off to? She wants you to take it back. She says there are too many problems with your baby, and she needs help understanding what it is saying, where it is going, and why-oh-why it keeps doing that terribly annoying, repetitive rhyme!
Your heart is broken.
Your feelings are blown to smithereens.
Okay, you pick yourself up, and trust that your friend's eyes are, indeed, fresh. They are seeing your baby from the outside, not from the inside where your heart and mind have made it into this God-like creation. So you read the comments. You listen to advice. You make the suggested changes. The problem?
YOU. HATE. IT.
This has happened to me with a manny of mine. No, it isn't my baby (thankfully), but I was given great advice this morning about it. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor told me this morning, "I think we should all just trust our guts, which is what I am learning to do more and more often."
How right is that??! Okay, yes, there are things that critiques help us with (in my case, MANY-a-things!!). But if you listen to ALL the advice you are given, if you change your manny completely around based on another's suggestions, and it honestly doesn't work for or feel right to you? I vote for your guts.
Here's my question to you:
In this day and age of writing, are we safe to trust our instincts?
I pray that we are. This blog is dedicated to the creative side of writing... Not the business angle. Yes, there are parameters to be met. But if in the end we are so wrapped up in the ways things should be written, there is little room for our hearts and souls to pour through our words. Be reasonable and listen to your critique partners. Listen to your agents, editors, and the trends. But, if it still doesn't sit well, again I say, I vote for your guts.