Not sure I feel comfortable having my name out there, so if you could make it anonymous, that would be great!
How do you avoid taking criticism too personally? I've recently received a lot of feedback on my WIP that is mostly constructive and often accurate, but I can't help but feel insulted. Instead of making me want to work harder, I read comments that make me want to give up. How can I work through this?
Thanks ahead of time for the help,
Insulted in Seattle
Dear Insulted in Seattle,
We feel your pain. Writing is quite possibly one of the most subjective businesses around. Just think about queries. When we sent out ten, we definitely heard a few, "not for me's," some almost instantaneously. But on the other hand, we earned a few requests and eventually landed an agent. But as tempting as it was to send some
We try our damnedest to integrate something we like to call, WWSD (What Would Stacey Do?) into our daily lives as much as humanly possible. Stacey is the youngest Roecker sister and is quite possibly the most laid-back person on the planet. She rolls through life letting bad news bounce right off of her. We attribute this particular quirk to years of abuse at the hands of her evil older sisters. Let's just say we gave her the gift of thick skin.
The fact is, Stacey doesn't let anything bother her and she never takes herself too seriously. Combine the two together and you've got a recipe for success. Stacey not only has her own stationary and nursery design business she also designs websites and pretty much anything else you ask her to do. She doesn't worry about taking risks or failing miserably, she just follows her gut and it always pays off.
Think about it. You've got two choices: You can let the feedback humiliate you completely, stifle all of your creativity and eventually just throw in the towel or you can take those insulting lemons and make some lemon drop martinis!
Give yourself some time to digest the feedback and then decide what resonates with you. If you completely disagree with everything your reader told you, get a second opinion. Whatever you do, don't give up. We guarantee you'll end up with stronger writing and a little bit of Stacey-style resilience. Both will serve you well.
Now that you're really on a roll, try your hand at not taking yourself too seriously. This is where it gets tricky. We have been burned (and I mean burned) after taking ourselves way too seriously. This is so good, blah, blah, blah. We nailed this, blah, blah, blah. This is a big deal, blah, blah, blah. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Publishing is not an easy business. Prepare to get your ass handed to you and get used to picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and laughing at your stupidity. The laughing in particular seems to help.
We've learned there is always room for improvement and we really try to embrace opportunities that help us grow as writers. It's not easy playing Stacey and we often forget how, but it is so, so worth it in the end.