Sorry this is so late—it took me longer to get feedback than I’d anticipated.
After expanding and revising my 500-word post “Working Alone” into a 700-word version, I took a deep breath and gave a general invitation to my Facebook friends (many of which I haven’t spoken to in years and a few I’ve never even met in person) to read and comment on my personal essay. One friend (who’d never read any of my writing before) gave several comments; some of them brought a smile, and others have me pretty conflicted.
One positive comment: “Paragraphs are different lengths, you varied sentence structure. All those things people usually forget, you didn’t. J” On the other hand, she’d noticed some grammatical errors. I can handle that—it’s easily fixed.
The comments having to do with content warrant more attention. The plus side: “I like the flow of the paper; the story. It starts off that it’s better to work alone, then you want to be with someone who never appears, and you realize that being alone is, let’s face it, lonely, and in the end you prefer company. It travels and develops.” But then she added, “[I]t’d probably be good to make this more apparent or transparent. Make that theme (if that is the theme) clearer.”
I dunno about this. On one hand, if my readers think something needs to be clearer, then maybe I ought to oblige. But I don’t want to be heavy-handed in my writing. Where’s the art in handing someone the moral of the story on a silver platter? One of my main goals in this essay was to depict the dichotomy of aloneness subtly but perceptively. So far, each of my readers (including the one who made the above comments) have caught this theme. Should I take that as a sign that I’ve made said theme clear enough, or do I need to grit my teeth and make some changes?
Thus I am reunited with one of the aspiring writer’s most troubling questions: “Must I place greater trust and priority in the thoughts of my readers than in my own?”