If you never do anything, then you’re safe from getting feedback.
Actually that’s not even true, sometimes random strangers feel compelled to let you know how you’re progressing with helpful comments like “why don’t you smile?”, “looking good” or “get out of my way.”
However, feedback is part of the process of improving. Whether at work or in writing, feedback and criticism is helpful, necessary yet frightening. We’re all delicate little flowers underneath and no one likes to be told, you’re crap.
I’ve recently put my writing out into the world for the first time, actively seeking feedback from beta readers and an editor. Scary stuff. I received a manuscript assessment about four weeks ago and while the feedback was mainly good and constructive, I went my own emotional rollercoaster ride of dealing with the feedback. It’s the same cycle I’ve been through many times with other feedback.
Here’s how it usually goes….
- Day 1 – Punch to the stomach/ ego bruising. Focusing on the bad bits. Self doubt mixed with wanting to quit, hating the world and wanting to crawl under the quilt, never to come out again. This usually lasts a day or two.
- Day 2 or 3- Processing the feedback. Re-reading (or replaying) the feedback. Glimmers of hope start to appear and (usually) it is not as wrist-slitty, soul-destroyingly bad as I feared on Day 1.
- Day 4 – Action. The sun reappears from behind the clouds, I wake up determined and with direction of what to do next. I focus fixing stuff. Right! Let’s get on it!
Now despite the fact that I know this about myself, I forget it every time I receive feedback. I only remember on reflection – oh yeah I always do this, don’t I? Sometimes the process goes longer, sometimes shorter, but always the same.
How do you deal with feedback? Do you go through the same cycle?