After finally gaining the gumption, I was able to open the file with the suggestions to my story. I was horrified when I saw the dozens of little comment bubbles along the column of the word document. I tried to channel my inner English-stiff-upper-lip before I opened them.
They were nothing exciting. One criticizing the name of my character, which was fine since I had a rebuttal for why it wasn’t going to change; the vast majority were pointing out typos or formatting errors. In fact, it was all nothing I couldn’t handle.
I spent the rest of the evening revising, and had a new draft ready by Friday morning. I sent it to three writer friends, and two other close people to help me read over for anything I missed. My goal was to have it revised and sent back Sunday night. One promised she could get it back to me by then, two I never heard from for confirmation, and two said they could get it back to me Sunday night, though probably after I went to bed. I resolved that I wouldn’t get it sent off until Monday morning (today) before I went to work.
I got up, ready to spend some time with the revisions that were sent me. I got up extra early to do so. There was nothing in my inbox. Nothing in my Facebook messages, nothing in any other form of chat waiting for me that had anything to do with my writing. I checked my junk mail, and any other place I thought to that feedback might be waiting. No where.
I had five people say they would get to it. Not one did.
I held my breath and sent off my unreviewed revision. When I got the email responding to my first submission, they told me I had five days to revise and respond. I wanted to do it in three so there was some possible turn around time should I have missed anything. Today I work ten hours, and have a few other things on my plate, never mind whatever business they have going on their schedule. I can only hope that we both have time for any potential further critique/revision that might need doing.
I feel let down, and I grapple with myself trying to figure out if I had asked too much, if I have the right to feel let down. But then I remind myself that this is only a short story, only 13 pages, and I gave all the parameter of what I needed done, and the option to say “no”. Feeling this way at 3 in the morning kind of sucks.
So my suggestion to those good friends out there who want to be helpful: it’s more helpful if you tell someone you can’t do it from the get-go rather than tell them you can do it and end up letting them down. It’s easier on you, it’s easier on your friend. Disappointment is not a fun feeling to experience, and I assure you that your friend would rather feel the mild annoyance that you can’t do something when they first ask, rather than wait patiently for a few days for it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t.
Be a good friend. Just be honest.