What do you do with Feedback?

You shared some of your writing with a friend or group. People read it, wrote about it, gave you comments. Some of them made you do a happy dance around your room, some made you want to toss your computer out the window, and others just didn’t even make sense.

What do you do with the comments? How do you apply them? Or do you even pay attention to them?

Use the following guidelines before you hit the delete button and give up on your masterpiece.

Always remember that it’s YOUR story. You get to decide what revisions you want to make. Even if somebody says you absolutely must make a change, you don’t. It’s up to you to decide what changes to make based on the feedback you received.

Don’t take feedback personally. Those who made comments were commenting on your STORY, not on you. You are still your AMAZING, BRILLIANT self regardless of what they wrote. Even though you might feel like your story is part of you, and in some ways it is, you need to separate yourself from it. Try to be as objective as possible.

You will get comments of varying quality. Realize that you might have experienced and beginner writers commenting on your story. This doesn’t mean that the beginner’s comments aren’t worthwhile, but they may not be as helpful as a more experienced critiquer.

Take the comments with grace. You might disagree with a comment, and that’s fine. Ignore it! You don’t need to reply with a snarky comment of your own. You should accept positive feedback in the exact same manner that you accept negative feedback.

That’s called having class.

Just as an athlete needs to learn how to lose with grace, as a writer you need to accept criticism with grace and the best way to do that is to ignore it. If you need to pitch a fit, do so, but not in writing online. Instead, shut your door, grab a pillow and scream into it, or have a good cry. Get it out . . . and then move on.

You don’t need to automatically change or revise every section that is mentioned. It’s your story, and if you love a part of it that somebody else didn’t like, keep it. You might consider how to clarify it or answer any questions that they have, but trust your own instincts and judgment.

In the comments below, if you have any other strategies that you’ve used to deal with feedback, both positive and negative, please share!

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