Short Stories

Writing: Receiving Feedback

Part of writing is taking criticism from fellow writers, readers, beta readers, critics, and friends and family. And while it is painful and sometimes uncalled for and wrong, it can be helpful. Even more so if you want to publish (self or through the traditional route). Without criticism, you can’t grow as a writer. It would be nice to be perfect from the get-go, but every one of us has to learn, and even the masters of the trade keep learning and finding new tricks to use every day.

I used to be bad in taking criticism. It disheartened me and got me agitated. There are still times that happens. But instead of lashing out for the critic, I take a moment and collect my thoughts. It has taken me a long time to get to this point where I can express my gratitude for the sayer and move on, taking the useful feedback with me and leaving behind the ones which weren’t as helpful. Maybe it is because I can say aloud all my insecurities and hurt to my husband instead of carrying it in. Unsaid words which nestle inside is the worst kind of poison, and we all do that too often. Carry the hate and hurt around as if they were part of us. That doesn’t have to be.

Often enough it is your own fears that get to you more when mouthed by someone else. Those times it is only natural to have a reaction, but instead of acting out, more useful is to take a step back and assess where the anger, desperation, hate, or frustration rises. See where they were right and if not then why did they say that or if they were right how can you improve. To be a great writer, you have to be open to change. I would like to remind that some comments are about personal taste and doesn’t always hold true to all readers. So, if there is one common feedback you keep getting from multiple sources, then it is something to think about. If a comment is a one-off, then maybe don’t be to haste to change the feature. There might be something good in it to cause a reaction.

When receiving criticism, read it carefully, not in a foul mood already (a mistake I did a couple of days ago,) read the positive also and not only the negative, go it over and think why the sayer has said his/her points, and what are helpful comments and what are not, what are down to personal taste and what apply to every writer, what you can change and what you can’t, and how you can improve based on the feedback. However, remember the changes you will make are yours and not based on anyone else’s suggestions. You are the expert.

The hardest part is to accept your own shortcomings. I always feel a heavy pressure on my chest when I see grammar written on the comments or poor writing. I have this false notion that if I keep writing, my dyslexia goes away. It doesn’t work that way, so every time I have to remind myself that there is a way to go past it (an editor.) That it doesn’t mean I can’t be a writer. But I hate it. I hate myself. I could let it discourage me and stop me from writing, but I won’t. There are times I reconsider giving up, but my husband won’t let me quit. He is amazing that way. On those similar darkest moments, talk to someone who either understands how hard writing is (few do, weird?) or someone who cares about you and supports your passion despite everything.

Before I let you go, I have to say one more important point: read and take in the positive. (I’m bad at this. I get too hung up with my mistakes.) It is easy to let the negative (the places we need to improve) to take over and forget you did well in some aspects. Those successes are where you build your writing. You have something unique no one else does. No one else can tell a story the way you do.

Thank you for reading! Have a nice day ❤

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