You know how it is:
You’ve laboured over a piece a writing—a poem or a story. Every word is perfect, as far as you can see. “Wait until they get a load of this gem of perfection,” you say to yourself as you submit it to a writing circle, or a beta
reader, or an editor.
And then the feedback comes.
Sometimes it’s hard to take. But it’s important to learn how to process critique. It’s the only way to hone your writing skills.
When we respond to criticism, we go through stages, much like the five stages of grief as proposed by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler.
Denial: What does that person know anyway? They just don’t get what I’m trying to do. It’s perfect exactly as is.
Funk: I am the worst writer ever. I will never learn how to do this. I should stop right now. If I didn’t write, my house would be clean, my spouse would
be happier, and I could watch an entire series on Netflix.
Re-evaluation: Maybe I should play with their suggestions a little. Give them a try and see how they all work. They might be onto something.
Acceptance: Their suggestions weren’t half-bad after all. I left some things the same, but the changes make everything better. I’m pleased.
Satisfaction: Writing is a challenge, but I feel good having written. Now, I can submit this work of pure genius to someone else.
Back to Stage One.
It’s a roller coaster, but a fun one. Your writing will get better and better if you learn to recognize these stages and accept which one you’re in at any given moment. Then you can know that the next stage is coming soon.