I'm only Human, After All
Backstory and Update: This post is regarding a manuscript that's been through four revisions and read by two (online) critique partners. A third CP is waiting to read it. I'm sending the MS to her once I finish revising the last few chapters and pushing pause on the chapter-by-chapter face-to-face feedback. I need an overall assessment (macro, rather than micro).
I have to get this out. My heart is threatening to tear from my chest, the ache is strong. Taking criticism is hard. There’s no way around it. If I want to become a better writer, I have to place my work in the hands of other writers. That’s all there is to it. It MUST be done.
So why do I feel like crumbling? It’s not like I haven’t received CP feedback before.
Recently, I became a part of a local critique group that meets weekly. Every week, we bring in a chapter from our current work-in-progress. We sit for hours, reading and critiquing each other’s work. Today’s my birthday, and today was the day of our meeting. I’m highly grateful to have been invited into their secluded group. It’s a rite of passage for me. The process of having my work critiqued face-to-face is stressful, but it doesn’t hurt so bad. The exchange of dialogue between the members is incredibly helpful, and I hope to pull my weight in return. So then why do I feel like such a failure? I’ve figured it out: it’s the ongoing, weekly affair of choosing to take criticism.
Ask yourself, when’s the last time you’ve received weekly critiques? This is a first for me.
How's This Feedback Different?
When a CP (from the web) sends my MS back to me, they’ve read the entire story in one fell swoop, which means I handle their feedback in one swoop. But having parts of my work dissected on a weekly basis, after spending hours and hours fixing the previous week’s entrails, I can’t help but feel like giving up.
I guess there’s no way around it, so I’ll just have to push through. Why am I sharing this? To let you know that you’re not alone, this writing thing is hard. But only by pushing myself can I become better. You don’t have to get better. I don’t have to either. But I want to. Either way, it’ll be okay. One day, my story will be finished and polished. And my CPs will be there to cheer me on.
I would love to hear how you manage handling feedback. How do you handle the stress?
If you found this helpful, consider sharing it on Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes it's nice to know we're not alone.
Writing Tip: Headspace. This is a free app that talks you through daily meditation. Good for clearing your head when working on a new story.
Great Tool for Writers