Surprisingly, not that many X words occurred to me 😉 .
I sometimes feel like I’ve received more than my fair share of bad advice on my writing. (This probably isn’t true, but it still feels that way.) From people who seemed to be half-reading what I wrote, and half just making crap up, to people who were obviously trying to teach me a lesson (which no one else who’d read it seemed to see), from those who were trying to remake my writing to sound like theirs to those who could tell me I was breaking writing “rules” without apparently understanding what the rules were for in the first place—and my personal fave, the person who killed off my killer in the opening scene—sprinkled among fabulous advice from insightful readers that has and continues to help me improve my writing, I’ve gotten an awesome sample of how not to be a critique partner.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to 1.) tell good advice from the bad, or 2.) move on from well-intentioned but wrong-headed advice. Even when I have great, enthusiastic responses from critique partners to comfort me, some words still chafe.
Even more frustrating than the feedback is my tendency to dwell on it. When I’m faced with this, I try to tell myself a couple things:
- Does this bother me because I agree with it on some level? Then how can I fix it?
- This person isn’t omniscient. He might not even know what he’s talking about.
- What does the majority say? Look over the feedback I’ve received from others to see if there’s anything directly addressing this issue.
- What does my experience say? Does this advice work for me?
And then I go to my wall o’ praise: the spot where I’ve taped up pages of nice things people have said about my writing.
What do you think? How do you handle critiques or advice that just BUGS you?
Photo by Elyce Feliz