Who is your mirror? Whose mirror are you?

I’ve been working on a writing project I love—except the ending won’t come together. Loose threads have slipped out every time I try to tie the final knot.

So I talked to a friend who is an expert on giving feedback. She read my piece so far, she told me which parts of the story drew her or kept her out, and she asked me questions. After each of these questions, she asked, “Why?” After each answer, she said, “What I hear you saying about this part is…” or “When you say that, it makes me think of…”

And then it happened. I saw the project clearly. I saw where missteps in the beginning tripped up the story at the end. I saw, start to finish, how to revise so that the narrative hangs together and feels satisfying and does the work that these characters are meant to do.

I already had the answers in me somewhere.

But I needed someone wise and patient to find them, to reflect them back to me so I could see.

Haziness inevitably creeps into any endeavor. If you know where you need to go, but you’re feeling fuzzy or unclear about how to get there, I recommend finding a mirror.