As I go through the process of literary creation I am well aware that I need feedback, and have much improvement ahead of me. I tell my self I am ready and open to the knowledge offered to me. And yet it hurts to hear critique. Why?
I don’t question my skill or the need for further growth, but my vision for the stories I want to share doesn’t gleam and sparkle as brightly as I see it. (Of course not, I am these stories and the same events recalled by another participant would be there own unique tale.) On the flip side – being showered with praise, no matter how sincere, leaves me feeling like an imposter.
Another of my momma’s favorite phrases is pertinent here: “Everything in moderation.” As I got feedback on Sickybeat recently, “Reader Zero” had several relatively small observations, that I interpreted as negative. I was frustrated and began to wonder if there was so much to work on, what had I done effectively?
Instead of letting that question fester and grow into a bitter resentful focus, I asked it. Of course, she could not recall details of the effective aspects of the writing, but she is noting them as she reads. That wasn’t the immediate pat on the back I was hoping for, but it was reassuring and I can wait.
Critique is not meant to be an invalidation of our experiences or emotions. If it feels that way I have to ask myself why that is the case? Is what is said within the realm of “Reasonable?” In other words, if I told another friend about the feedback given would they say, “That’s mean to say,” or “That could be possible?”
If the feedback doesn’t help to improve the work I’d ask someone else. If feedback makes me think creatively and I still feel bad, I try to change the focus to positive aspects I could employ further (descriptive tools, flow techniques, etc). Other times, I need some space from it for a while.
Just never doubt your tale is worth telling!