An author I follow on Twitter posted this the other day, and I’ve watched it a few times since, and each time, it’s made me chuckle. Both as an editor and a writer, giving and receiving feedback takes a lot of practice.
Sometimes when I’m reading work to offer feedback, I need to remind myself that different styles and genres rely on a number of conventions, expectations, traditions. Sometimes I have to catch myself in ‘correcting’ something, when it’s not really ‘wrong’, but it’s simply the author’s voice. We might write differently, which doesn’t put either of us in the right, it just allows for the wonderful diversity of work which we’re lucky enough to be able to experience these days. Often reading others’ work–and noting what they do well–emphasises areas of my own work on which I know I need to focus.
And this is important to remember when I’m getting feedback, too. I received another rejection the other day, not wholly unexpected, but I realised when I read it, that rejections don’t devastate me in the same way they used to. Perhaps it’s because after you have had some work accepted, it softens the blow of subsequent rejections, or perhaps it’s just that I’m far less precious about my work than I used to be. The feedback I receive is often helpful–not just for picking up issues in the work in question, but also to give me a greater insight into how I write: my style, my habits, my ‘tells’. This is not only important to help me to improve on my weaknesses, but it helps highlight my strengths.
Whether an editor or writer, or simply a reader, I hope you find the video as amusing as I did… perhaps you can see yourself (or someone else) in one or both of these characters?!