I’m the worst. Or at least I can be.
I’m so fiercely independent that I want to do it all alone. I like to think that everything I write is the best writing in the world and that readers’ opinions are mere distractions.
But I’m learning.
Everything I write makes sense to me. I understand the context and meanings in my head which make all the connotations crystal clear to me.
But I’m beginning to understand that my opinion doesn’t mean anything if I want to reach a wide range of readers.
I so easily get defensive. If an advanced reader gives a suggestion or questions why I did this or that, I want to back it up with a long litany of reasons, which make perfect sense in my mind.
However, all of these mean nothing.
However, what is it that I’m actually learning about writing?
That I’m not the only one in the world who has insight. (I know, this is such a novel concept.) Sometimes I wonder how I went from having no writing self-confidence that I wandered in the pen-less wilderness for twenty years to get to the point where I everything I write is the gospel. Such arrogance!
Haha. As if.
But I’m learning.
So here are things that I always try to keep in remember:
1) constructive criticism is not personal criticism.
2) constructive criticism is not criticism of one’s writing skills.
3) Advanced readers are HELPFUL – treat them well.
4) I may be writing because I love to write, but I do want others to read it. Therefore, take anyone’s and everyone’s insight! Learn from it and move on.
5) Criticism or not, the ultimate decision remains with the writer. Take all input, look at it objectively then make the final determination what YOU (or I) think is best for the story. Example, I had two readers of THE RECLUSE STORYTELLER have completely different opinions about certain metaphors that I used. One person pointed out how much she LOVED them! The other pointed out how she would remove them. There is no way to please everyone. Decide for yourself, and move on. But make sure to THANK both readers.
OK. I think I feel better.
And I love my advanced readers!
And one last thing: I kept the metaphors.