Do you have any advice on how to take feedback without wanting to quit writing forever?

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4 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    The life of a writer is writing stuff that doesn’t work and getting better from that. I have never felt like I’ve moved past that point. Other awful things about the life of a writer: It’s relentless, like cleaning a house. You do it and nothing changes because you have to do it again the next day. Also, the best writers give honest feedback so it feels like the best writers you know hate you but actually they are being good to you by taking the time to give feedback that matters.

    No writer ever feels like they are a great writer. So a writer must love the process, which is almost absurd since the process is so unlovable.

    Hm. I think maybe a writer needs to love words, and the feeling of having them roll off their head and into their fingers where they’re there to see. Like now. Like why do I even write here, in mailbag? Who knows. Except that I love the process of reading a question from you all and feeling the words bubble up in my head. I want to give the words a place to go.

    i hope this helps.


  2. Minami
    Minami says:

    When I get negative feedback, I let it smart for a bit. And then I step back and ask myself how I can use that negative feedback to improve my writing. So I allow myself to feel my feelings, but then I try to look at the critique in a more productive and objective way. One has to realize that negative feedback is actually a good thing. If a writer never gets any, they’ll never figure out how they can improve.

  3. Robin
    Robin says:

    I would say it is possible that the advice you need is not how to take feedback that makes you want to quit writing forever, but whether you’re getting good feedback from a helpful place. If someone trashes your writing in the name of helping you write better, that’s unhelpful and you don’t have to go back for more or integrate it into your writing. So dealing with feedback may be as easy as getting higher quality feedback that doesn’t make you feel like shit.
    And know that as an editor, I am going to have a lot more feedback on a piece of writing that has real potential than on a piece of writing that is okay or bad. So that may be going on. Tell your feedbackers to tell you the good things, too.


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