Too Much to Do: Organizing post-critique

A big part of the KS-MO Advanced Writing Retreat was critique.  This means that I got feedback on “People Pray” from the four other members of my critique group.  They also critiqued “Drip by Drip, Cave Below” as did Karen Boss (Charlesbridge).  Actually Boss critique two versions of the cave manuscript.

Sometimes when you get feedback you can quickly separate it – that’s good and makes sense in terms of your overall manuscript.  This bit over here?  It doesn’t work with your vision at all.

In addition to getting a lot of great feedback on these two project, I spent some time brainstorming my novel project.  And while I was on the retreat?  A nonfiction project tracked me down.  By the time I got home I had so much to work on and no idea where to start.  Actually, I was more than a little paranoid that I would forget part of it.

Fortunately, I am a list maker.  So before I got to work on anything, I made a to-do list for each project.

“People Pray” was fairly easy.  Some things obviously need to be done first and others second.

The nonfiction project is so new that is was also pretty straightforward.  Start with the research.  Then make a new list of the images I need to capture.

“Drip by Drip, Cave Below”?  That one was another story.  Don’t get me wrong.  I got pages and pages of great feedback.  But that was the problem.  Pages and pages.  I’m visual so flipping between the pages each person gave me was distracting.  Instead I had to make a massive list.

But how to organize it? It isn’t as clear which thing needs to be done first and which needs to be done second, etc.  Because of this, I made a checklist but it is in alphabetical order by category.  These comments are about backmatter.  These are about structure.  Progress is going to be slow but at least with the checklist I don’t have to worry about forgetting to do half of it.  Everything that needs to be accomplished is on the list. Twenty-one items.  Two pages.

A big part of knowing how to proceed is knowing how you work.  For me, relaxing and getting started was impossible until I had it all down where I couldn’t lose it.  This might work for you.  Or you might have to come up with a different system that is a better fit for how you work.