An Open Letter About Feedback Blues

This letter is at least partially to me.
OK, mostly.

 

Dear Person,

First off, whoever you are, thanks for taking the time to read this blog. If you, in fact, are me, then please disregard the previous statement.

I’m writing to you because recently (whether in the traditional sense of the word, or in the Snow White “Yes … recently …” sense) you got some feedback on That Thing you’re making, in order to try to make That Thing better.

You won’t kid yourself – you knew there were problems going in. That’s why you got the feedback. You needed to identify those problems, and you needed to fix them in order to improve. It was all very logical, really.

But still, you can’t really help being a little bit offended by just how many issues there are. Someone came back and said “here are all the things wrong with That Thing that I can see” and dammit, they were right. They said a lot of things that make a lot of sense, but you can’t help but be a bit embarrassed by how obviously terrible the work was when you gave it to them.

It’s very tempting to give up. “This story is never going to be good enough,” you say. “I’ve got so many other ideas – time to give this one up as a learning experience and write the next one using what I learned here.”
Or maybe your platitude of choice is “Look at all the other crap that’s out there. These problems can be fixed with some spackle – it won’t be as pretty, but it won’t be mind-bendingly awful, either. Maybe I can get away with that. The person who gave me feedback said they really liked it other than these, like, three main points, that’s not too bad, right?”

Unfortunately, the only way to overcome inertia is to put energy into the system, and that means starting somewhere. Make a list or a plan, open up on page 1 and promise yourself you only need to fix that intro page today, put on a CD, make a cup of something caffeinated or herbal or sweet or whatever. Call up a sympathetic friend and have a long, cathartic rant about how life is so unfair because you’re not perfect yet and that’s just not how it’s supposed to work. Write a preachy blog post about Overcoming the Terrible Feedback Blues.

Regards,

A writer currently procrastinating by writing on a blog, and subcategorizing my list of edits for the third time.

Comments are the place to find sympathetic friends to rant at, or to share your personal Magic Bullet for overcoming the pre-edit blahs.

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