We’ve all been there.
You’ve shared your work with someone. You wait for what seems like an eternity and then it comes: the feedback.
And it’s not good.
It’s hard to share work that you care about, and when it’s feedback that feels hurtful or overly negative, it can be even more difficult to send your work out there again.
Don’t despair! Difficult feedback can be a heartbreak, but there are productive ways to make even the worst critiques work for you. Instead of having a voodoo bonfire with your reader’s likeness, consider these things first.
Take a Beat
Your delicate, writerly feelings have
Part of being a writer is getting rejected a
Go ahead, give yourself some time to get over it.
This can be a productive way of getting over a tough round of feedback. Taking a step back from your work-in-progress can help you
As hard as it might be to admit, are your characters in need of
Actionable Advice vs. Wayward Negativity
It’s always important to turn difficult situations into opportunities for growth. It is equally important to examine the feedback
Are they telling you how they would write your book and focusing only on the negative aspects? Remember that it is still your story and you can trust yourself to figure out how you want to tell it.
Try not to take this kind of advice personally. It is possible that your critique partner just isn’t the right audience for what you are writing.
Consider also who is giving this advice. What is their experience as a writer? If your critique partner has not given a lot of feedback, they may not know how to phrase comments in constructively.
If this is true, you might
Get into the Right Mindset.
Are you in a state where you feel anxious? Overtired? Mad that your gerbil kept you up all night? Do yourself a favour and don’t read your feedback again until you are in a good headspace.
When we look to others for accolades, it’s hard to feel good when it’s all negative. Get yourself on balance by becoming your own cheering section. When I’m feeling bad about a comment I didn’t like, I spend some time free-writing so
There will be time later to look at the feedback with a clearer head, but it is important to build yourself up again too. Whatever you do, pick an activity that puts you in a good mood so
Your Frenemy, Confirmation Bias
Getting a “bad” review or unpleasant feedback can sometimes activate our own insecurities. Sometimes, we are our own worst critics. Consider that your own feelings of doubt may
Afraid you’re an impostor? Suddenly, you think
Approach your Work with Honesty
Be honest with yourself. Every work-in-progress has elements that could
Reading aloud can help to find awkward phrases or wooden dialogue, or if you have a plotting issue, consider reading the manuscript once
Regardless of how you improve your work, make all the changes you are going to make before you give it to another critique partner. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed by too much feedback and you will be able to more easily process any new information for your manuscript.
Being self-reflective and knowing when to
Keep Writing, Keep Growing
If you show up to your work every day—or as much as you reasonably can—then you are a good writer. If you try your best to use feedback and think critically (
Love yourself, love your writing and always, always keep the faith. Got it? Good. Now get back to work.