What’s the big deal with embracing feedback? Whether you’re working on your first novel or your fifth, or have decided to take a stab at writing nonfiction, you want your time and efforts to be worthwhile. Taking criticism, learning, and growing as a writer not only improves your writing, your reputation, but makes you more money.
These days, anyone, and I mean anyone, can publish an eBook, short story, multi-part story or entire stand-alone novels and true-life stories on publication venues like Amazon’s Kindle store (and others). Some of those books are great, some not so much. What separates the great from the meh? What separates the 5-star reviews from the 1-star reviews? Good, solid writing. Great plot development, well-rounded characters, smooth transitions from scene to scene and of course, realistic dialog.
Even more important is structure. You can write the greatest story in the world, but if it’s riddled with punctuation errors, stilted sentence structure or jumps from thought to thought or scene to scene without any cohesion, it’s not going to get very good reviews.
That goes for any book – traditional print, self-published, Kindle, bookstore or online.
Don’t cringe at feedback
You may ask your friends to read your story or your book and you know what? Most of the time they’ll offer you compliments – they may congratulate you on not only trying to write your story, but finishing it. But how often do they offer actual critiques? And if they do, how do you take it? Do you take it as constructive criticism or do your feathers get all ruffled because, well, obviously, they don’t know what they’re talking about?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced, published author or a newbie attempting your first novel. Feedback is essential, but get that feedback from a source you can trust to tell you the truth; the good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s all part of the process of becoming a writer and becoming a person who takes criticism, welcomes it even, so that you can become a better writer.
So the next time you ask for feedback (not from Mom or your BFF,) from your teacher, a respected colleague, a fellow writer, your writer’s group, or a literary agent, learn from it. Don’t cringe when the red pen comes out or you get your document back filled with red tracked edits. Look at them. Study them. Learn from them.
They’ll make you a better writer.