More Painful Than Rejection Letters

More than once, I've talked about how much I enjoy critique. It makes the book so much better, I've said. It opens my eyes to things I didn't notice. It reminds me that the things I ignored really do need to be dealt with. All those things are true, and critique is still one of my favorite things about writing, because I love the moments when I see the book come together after a good round of that-didn't-make-sense from critique partners.

But it's also a ridiculous amount of emotional, more painful than rejection letters, honestly. I spend a good amount of my time engaging in mental arguments with the comments at hand, which is a complete waste of time...a fact that eventually burrows its way to my brain and reminds me that 1) the book isn't going to edit itself, and 2) I don't know everything.

And in those moments, I cling to these two beautiful pieces of advice that I've gleaned from writers as I've pursued the writing adventure.
  1. If the reader doesn't understand something, it's likely the writer's fault.
  2. Never argue with critique. If it's wrong, don't make changes. If it's right, which is statistically more likely, make changes.
Does it take the emotional drain away from the act of wading through critical comments? No. Does it stop me from imagining debates over the clarity of a plotline? No.

Does it keep me from writing long-winded explanations of what-the-reader-should-have-noticed? Yes.

Critique is hard, but absolutely vital if you want to do something well. Over and over and over again, I've discovered that truth. But it requires humility, over and over and over again humility. The constant reminder that I really don't know everything. It's downright hard.

But it's downright good.

What about you? How do you cope with critique...of anything, not just your writing?

{Those Who Trespass will be available exclusively for Kindle {and all Kindle apps} on August 27, 2013.}

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