Am I going to take a creative U-turn?

Today is the day I asked my novel beta readers to send me their comments. So far I’ve received two sets. And of course I’ll very patiently await the rest. I feel my readers are doing me such a huge favor that whenever I get their comments will be okay.

My dilemma now is with the two conflicting sets of comments I already have. One set says my novel is amazing, well written, and gives my writing lots of other kudos. The other set suggests major rewrite, reorganization, and more work shopping before I send it out again.

Artist'sThis second set of comments reminds me of Julia Cameron’s section on Creative U-turns in her book, The Artist’s Way. It makes me want to stop working on this novel altogether because the task is too deep and too tall. I fear that I don’t know how to pull it off. Cameron says:

We usually commit creative hara-kiri either on the eve of or in the wake of a first creative victory¦.Creative U-turns are always both from fear fear of success or fear of failure. It doesn’t really matter which. The net result is the same.

I feel I experienced a victory just in getting this far with my novel; however working to the next step is daunting. In that regard, Cameron also offers a way to move on. She says, Ask Who do I know who has done a successful rewrite? Ask them how to do one¦Once we admit the need for help, the help arrives.

She repeats, Faced with a creative U-turn, ask yourself, ˜Who can I ask for help about this U-turn?’ Then start asking.

So maybe these words will keep me from taking that U-turn in the first place. First I’ll wait for the other comments, patiently, and then I’ll ask for help.


  1. Madeline, I have Julia Cameron’s book waiting for me at our local library. It’s one writing book I’ve not yet cracked the cover on, and I need to. I doubt that you need to take a creative U-turn, but waiting for your other beta readers is a calm and centering thought at this time. I think you’ll find that the percentage of good comments is greater than the opposite.

    Best always,

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Hi, Sherrey. Thanks for your encouragement. I did get a third set of comments back so now I’m waiting for two more. I am just, as you say, waiting calmly and centered right now. I read Cameron’s book a long time ago, but it was great to crack it open again. I had forgotten that I had underlined passages and wrote in marginal notes. It really resonated with me. I certainly never forgot about the section about the creative u-turn. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.
      Best always to you as well, Madeline

  2. I think receiving feedback is tough. It depends on so many things. That person’s personal taste, their mood at the time, their feelings towards you, their attraction to the genre and more. I try to take everything with a grain of salt. Someone might hate and another person might love it. At least you aren’t in the middle where people don’t care at all about it. If you can make someone feel then you are doing something right.


  1. […] about the creative U-turn. Ever since reading about U-turns I’ve been avoiding them ( as I wrote here). I haven’t allowed negative reviews or feedback to make me come to a full stop and do an about […]

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