June 4, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
What we say to editors, workshop leaders, critique partners, or anyone (other than Mom) who is reading our work and giving feedback:
Of course I want honest criticism. I can’t improve if I don’t learn what isn’t working on the page, or find out that something which makes sense in my head isn’t necessarily clear to the reader. Given that I can trust you not to be criticizing me in order to try and boost your own self-esteem, I know that my work is very likely to be better after your feedback – and even if I end up not editing much at all, I’ll have been forced to think carefully about some of the choices I’ve made, so that will still give me a more confident, solid approach to the work. And of course if I take your suggestions on board, I am going to have a much better piece of writing!
What we actually mean:
2. Please don’t say anything bad! Please!
3. *hides under bed*
4. Please just say ‘it’s perfect! Might want to run spell-check.’
5. No, don’t tell me to run spell-check! I can’t bear the criticism!
(I have a piece with a professional editor and something else nearly ready to go out for critique. So, yes, I’ve been thinking about this.)
But of course, number 7 (or beyond, depending on how much screaming and hiding under the bed occurs) is ‘goes and edits the damn thing.’