One good thing about entering writing contests is that I got really good at receiving criticism about my writing. I didn’t always agree with the criticism. Sometimes it was infuriating, especially when someone corrected my grammar but didn’t know what they were talking about.
But I found that in one respect, it didn’t matter. Unless the critic was unreservedly enthusiastic, a little part of me felt miffed. I call that part my Inner Diva. Its ego knows no limits, and even the slightest breath of criticism causes the same reaction:
How dare they not SWOON at the mere PRIVILEGE of being in the presence of a work of such INCREDIBLE genius???
(Inner Diva is rather fond of multiple punctuation marks.)
So I’ve learned to allow for that reaction. Whenever I get feedback, I read it, write a thank you (the critic is trying to help me, after all) and then I set it aside and get on with something else. If the criticism was especially harsh, I have to clean something or go outside and pull weeds. Something that involves setting the world to rights.
Then I go back after a couple days and re-read the feedback. Often, on a second reading, the words on the page have magically rearranged themselves so that the critic is much less harsh and much more balanced and reasonable. Sometimes I have to go out on and pull a few more weeds, but usually I can take in their comments and move on with writing.
Feedback is helpful. Feedback is your friend. Feedback is not always right — it’s your story, not theirs — but it really can improve your story.
Just pat your Inner Diva on the head and get on with it.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts about Rejection. Rejection is a form of feedback, even a ‘Not for us’ note.
Do you have any special tips for dealing with feedback?