Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship

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From Jane Friedman:

As writers, it can feel daunting, vulnerable, and impossible when we contemplate sending our own stories out into the world. So when end stage paralysis strikes you, it’s time to step away from your identity as writer, and into your role as creative steward.

Creative stewardship fulfills our final responsibility to a story— placing it in the best position to connect with readers. Yet, it’s in this final act of stewardship that many authors find themselves paralyzed.

If you find yourself sitting atop a mountain of work you haven’t shared with anyone but your cat, I have good news for you. You can (and will) get better at this critical piece of the writing puzzle. Even better, once your stories are released into the world, they have the potential to significantly impact readers’ lives, bring you devoted fans, and earn you some cash. All those writing craft skills you’ve refined while writing the story will help in your role of creative steward.

First, detach from the role of writer with the use of personification.

You have finished your story. It is now time to acknowledge this beautiful shiny thing as an entity entirely separate from you. To help me detach, I personify a project by giving it a new, friendly, human sounding name. E.g., the book I want to sell right now, The Color Eater, became Gretel. Gretel is entirely her own being, independent of me. By detaching, we take I and me out of the equation, which eliminates the problems of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and fear of personal rejection.

Build an extra layer of emotional resilience through a point-of-view shift.

Before personification, every thought related to your WIP was solidly in first person. I’m writing. I’m editing. I’m sending out to beta readers.

Now that you’re acting as a creative steward, it’s time to change the point of view when you think or speak about the project. Switch from first-person to third-person language and build another level of psychological distance between you and the work.

Gretel is out with beta readers. Gretel is out on sub to publishers. Gretel just made it past an editor and had her first acquisitions meeting.

This added level of disassociation diminishes the sting of rejections. It also makes it easier to speak with confidence about the project. I know Gretel has mad skills to entertain readers for hours, and I can’t wait until she has the chance.

Link to the rest at Jane Friedman

2 thoughts on “Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship”

  1. This is hilarious!

    I shall run forthwith and christen all 40 of my published works with names of their very own! Not titles, so passe`, no each e-book shall be given a name!

    Like a Cabbage Patch doll, with a birth certificate and adoption papers!

    No wait! Wait! I need birth announcements!

    Yes, that’s it! Birth announcements sent to agents, in hope of capturing their attention and getting their approval, and signing up for a lifetime of paying someone else to publish my work.

    Who would DARE not slavishly follow such a lofty goal?


    ROTFLMAO – Thanks for this delightful giggle with my morning coffee!

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