Seth Godin wrote:
One of the nicest things a generous critic can tell you is that a particularly off-key email or comment doesn’t sound like you.
It’s generous because that’s precisely the sort of feedback we can use to improve our work. < http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/03/it-doesnt-sound-like-you.html >
Nancy Bryan, an editor I worked with, offered those same words several years ago to my manuscript about prayers. I began writing the project with passion, but at the midway point the project simply became a dreaded task. Despite my fatigue, I completed the manuscript and sent it around the deadline.
A few days later my editor telephoned, ”I can’t publish this. It’s not you. Anyone could have written this. I’m not recognizing your unique personality. ”
We talked about options and what she felt was wrong with the manuscript. I said that I would look at the material and see what I could do with it.
Three months later I began to read through that manuscript and realized how right my editor was. The material seemed more like a college term paper than a book. I rewrote the last third of the material and revised earlier portions and then submitted it anew.
Two days later Nancy telephoned: “This is you! This we will publish!” And so Three Prayers You’ll Want to Pray came to life as a far better and much different book than that first effort.
I am thankful for the generous criticism of Nancy Bryan.
And Seth Godin offers generous guidance in his simple and profound observation.