What Do You Do With Feedback? Smile. Say Thanks, Take the Credit

Posted on June 21, 2009. Filed under: criticism, critique groups, feedback, revision, suggestions, writing |

Are you familiar with the adage about critiques for writers that goes, “Take what you can use and lose the rest?” Sounds so simple, yet we often agonize over suggestions. Which ones will improve our manuscript? Which ones might be disastrous? Which don’t add much but the critiquer insists it’s the only way? Ever feel irritated by someone’s feedback? Yeah, me, too.
Maybe we could change our perspective on those critiques that rankle. Instead of viewing feedback or the person delivering it as a supreme pain in the neck, think of it as one time in your writer life when you’re king or queen. The absolute authority. The Decider. It’s up to you to decide (for better or worse) which bits of critique (not criticism) you will implement in your rewrite and what you’ll leave behind.
Writing Tip for Today: Be open to new things. When deciding on how to use feedback, try on an idea, let it sit for a dy or two, go back and see how it sounds. Read the changes aloud. If you use someone’s suggestion and it makes your intention clearer, stronger or more particular, go for it. Don’t worry if the idea came from someone you like or someone you loathe. Smile and say “thanks” and then take the credit. Reject suggestions that makes your work sound more confusing, more ordinary, unlike your voice or style or not what you were trying to get across. Again, smile, say “thanks” and take the credit.

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