Saturday, February 27, 2010

Taking Criticism

Have you ever receive that letter...

Dear Ms. Rager,
Thank you for submitting your manuscript. After careful consideration, we have decided not to publish it at this time. Much of it needs reworked.... Thank you again.

Or what about that friend who says,

"Yeah, it's great. But you should change this. What is the point of this section. That part there wasn't really good but it got better after a while. Perhaps you could change this..."

Don't you just LOVE well intentioned people?! Everyone has an opinion. Sometimes they're good, sometimes not. It's hard to hear others thoughts on your work. My thoughts? GROW THICK SKIN! (Easier said than done!)
I am not a thick skinned person and take things very personally, especially about my writing. It's like it is a part of me and when someone says something, they are tearing apart my soul! Silly or not, that's how it feels to me! In fact, I didn't even tell my mom that I was writing until after I had submitted my first manuscript! That's right. I was terrified to tell her, for fear that she would laugh or think it was terrible. I didn't let my husband read By Love or By Sea until it was in print and the book was in his hand!
Silly, I know.
I do understand the importance of others' advice and that extra set of eyes. However, it is not easy. You, as the writer, must keep in mind that when you have others read and critique for you, they just want you to succeed. They only tell you things so that you can do better. They don't tell you so that you feel like dirt. I think as a writer that has been one of the most challenging parts for me. I am getting better. I even sent my WIP to 12 readers to critique it. That was hard. And some of the help, I DID NOT LIKE! But I understand it and appreciate it. There is a difference!
At the end of the day, the author has the final say, anyway. So look at the advice objectively, see if you can use it, and then toss it if you can't! :) Just remember, an extra eye never hurt anyone!


Dean Lorimer said...

I don't think criticism is really something any of us deal with well. I got teaching evaluations back a couple weeks ago, and some of them broke my heart. I guess the important thing is to keep trying and take the good things from what people tell us.

Bev said...

Actually, when I found out you wanted to write, I did laugh!!! But only because it never occurred to me that anyone would WANT to write. I thought they only did it when they were assigned to for a class!:) I'm so proud of you because you have stuck with it and achieved something that most of us never even have the guts to pursue! Love ya!

Krista Darrach said...

*hangs head*
Gosh, I hope I wasn't the person you were not happy with. Rachel...I think you're an amazing writer- with LOADS of talent! I loved your book!!!