I am well aware that everyone connected to the writing and publishing industry is adamant that what friends and family think of what you’ve written just doesn’t count. I understand that to a degree, but not totally. It’s true they don’t have the “professional” perspective, and it’s just possible they might be partial—but that doesn’t mean their opinions can’t matter about whether your story has potential.
For me, the opinions and responses of friends and family members have been crucial, not only in encouraging me to do something with this thing, but also in some crucial decisions about the direction it has taken. More on that in time. In addition, I have a couple of family members who are excellent at catching things I have missed and in helping me discuss plot intricacies. And now God has provided me with a long-time friend who is into writing and can give me professional feedback as well as personal opinion. So I count myself fortunate.
Without the encouragement of friends who have read the story, it would have been easy for me along the way to decide that either it wasn’t worth the effort or I wasn’t justified in putting so much time, effort—and money—into it.
That brings me to the fall of 2004 when a new online friend read it—piecemeal through e-mail. She not only gave me valuable feedback, but she encouraged me enough that I began to think maybe I should once again pursue publication.
At that point, it had been seventeen years since I finished writing it. That’s when it dawned on me that if I were ever going to do anything, I’d better get to doing it because I most likely didn’t have another seventeen years to think about it!