Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Five Stages of Receiving Feedback

Stage 1: Excitement

An email pops up in my inbox and my heart starts beating faster. Be it from an crit partner, a beta reader or an agent, the very presence of an email in that inbox is enough to make me dance with impatience as I wait for it to load.

Stage 2: Dread

Wait. This is an email relating to my writing. What if it's bad news? What if the sender HATED my work? Maybe I shouldn't read it. At least not until I'm in a better mood. What if my fragile, artistic ego can't take the rejection?

Stage 3: Despair

It was worse than I thought. Compliment, compliment, compliment, criticism, compliment, compliment. My writing must be terrible! What was I thinking, sending this out into the world? I'm a hack! I should never write again!

Stage 4: Exuberance

I'm going to change EVERYTHING! Every word of every critique must be right! How could I have been so blind? Let's rename characters and change major plot points and cut entire scenes! No need to rework anything. Let's just start over!

Stage 5: Acceptance

Okay, I see what they were REALLY saying and I see why. Sure, this part is a little slow, but I can fix it. And while this particular writer didn't like this line, I do and I'm the writer. This is my baby and I can take in all this feedback, use the parts that resonate with me and confidently stick to my guns on the rest. I love my story. I love feedback. Let's do this again! Who else can I send it to?


  1. Wow... that struck close to home. I guess that means when I get my MS back from my critter I shouldn't freak. Somehow, I think I will anyway, but I wish I could skip to Stage 5!

  2. Ha! Hilarious, and so completely true!

  3. Wouldn't we all love to skip to Stage 5! I'm languishing at Stage 2 right now, afraid to even look at my latest feedback. I think I'll just start a new WIP!

  4. Oh no! Don't be afraid (if you're talking about mine!) I did kind of slam you for one thing in particular, but it was all out of love. Everything else is just questions and nitpicks.

    (Also, if I had $1 for every time I thought "I am a hack....")

  5. Haha, Leigh Ann! You're fine! We all need to hear criticism! It's just a process :)

  6. And the questions are some times harder than the criticism!

  7. Eeek. *Ducks head* I don't *try* to be a monster, I swear......

  8. Hey Jenny, just wanted to let you know I gave you an award, go check it out in my latest post. :-)

  9. Jenny, I can totally relate to these five stages. Since I always enjoy reading your posts, I've given you two blog awards here:

    Good luck on submissions!

  10. Thanks Megan & Lyla! I'm so new to this blog thing - I need to figure out how to pass the love along!