One of the hardest parts about being a writer is taking feedback. Usually my first response to notes (in my head at least) pretty much matches this photo.
When I was younger, my wining, crying refusal of criticism ran rampant. It wasn’t that I thought my writing was infallible, it was more an uncontrolled, defensive reaction to suddenly realizing more work needed to be done on a piece I thought was (if not completely, at least close to) finished.
I was just a baby writer. These days I can say with confidence that I am solidly in my tweens.
These days, when I get feedback, I still FEEL like that little, baby writer. My face flushes, my throat tightens, and sometimes I even want to cry, but here’s what I figured out; in absolutely every case – I ASKED FOR IT.
It just doesn’t seem right to lash out at people who have taken the time, at my request, to read my work and prepare notes. It’s no small task. They are doing me a serious favor. So when I feel that tantrum coming on I just keep quiet. I shut my mouth. No matter how badly I want to speak in my defense – I don’t.
Usually by the time I’ve heard about half of their thoughts I start to realize they are right. My creative brain starts spinning on how to incorporate the feedback to improve the story and I forget all about melting into a pile of tears.
On the rare occasion that I think the feedback is dead wrong I just say thank you (they still put in the time after all). Then I go home, thinking “that was a big waste of time,” sleep on it, and wake up with the sudden realization that they were totally right. It happens every time. The more wrong I think someone is, the grander that midnight revelation will be. (This, I think, speaks largely to the caliber of writer that I’ve been privileged to work with. I have been very fortunate in deed.)
So I’m getting better at taking feedback, and as a direct result, I’m improving as a writer. Who knew that pride could be so delicious?