It’s Feedback, Not Failure


A few months ago I was figuratively balancing on the edge of a writer’s deep cauldron. Dramatic, I know, but it serves. The reason centered on my work, and whether I was paying due diligence regarding drafts, revisions, et cetera, after having received several dozens rejections to queries for my first novel, The Riven Country of Senga Munro. Yes, yes, the question answered itself, but not before I considered drowning myself in said cauldron.

Diagon Alley metal art hangs by my writing cabin door, of a pointy-hatted witch stirring  her pot–a useful metaphor for the creative impulse; writing as magical endeavor, except, it’s not. Still, I always touch the cauldron before entering my space to work. Ritual as necessary ingredient.  

A writing friend asked me one day last winter how the revision was going. I mumbled something vague, or likely incoherent, but her pointed question (like the hat) niggled, and I set about finally getting down to it, seriously (read scraping the bottom of the cauldron for baked-on, or half-baked phrasing), and, in the end, cut 16,000 words from the first novel. I swear I hear heavy sighing from the overwrought file. Failure, in the form of declines (my preferred word), together with my friend’s gentle nudge, serve as feedback.

Coming up for air (clinging to our working image of a cauldron/caldera) and seeing what’s out there can be helpful, even refreshing. (Ah, a breeze! Gentle rainfall! The sounds of birds and children’s laughter!) And I took some writerly advice (from Poets and Writers Magazine) to engage with a social media platform, hitherto ignored, except for this outlet. I have now a Twitter presence, to help keep up with literary and musical worlds. @reneecarrier12

I wanted to invite you into my writing cabin. Now go; I have to get back to work. 

4 thoughts on “It’s Feedback, Not Failure

  1. Kevin Sweeney July 15, 2019 / 3:08 pm

    Hey Renee,
    16,000 words huh, yeah you do look thinner.
    Keep going and drop me a line now and again, used words accepted.
    Love you,


  2. renée carrier July 15, 2019 / 4:42 pm

    Will do, Kevin, and thanks for being a first reader. Will send on the third when ready.


  3. Kim McDowell July 19, 2019 / 11:52 am

    Glad you are writing! Hope your summer is going well!


  4. Dixie Minor August 21, 2019 / 9:57 am

    I love the pictures of the cabin! And the cauldron; I do think there is magic that happens, as will as hard work! 🙂 I would love to read all the parts you cut; I know I would love s them, but I do understand we are “supposed “ to cut. 😉 Good luck with that cauldron!


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