All writer’s need feedback on their work. We all need trusted readers, people whose acumen we trust, who know the genre that we write in, and who understand our own motivations as writers. Certainly, whenever I write a novel, I use the 3 trusted readers rule. When I think I have a completed draft, I send it to three people whose judgement I trust and respect, and then I sit tight. The longer I wait, the harder it is, though, but the discomfort is necessary. None of us can judge our own work when we are in the midst of writing it. How can we know if we are accomplishing our task when it is all already in our own brains? How can we be objective about our own work?
But boy, can that feedback be painful. Even if it is worded well, even if it is mostly positive, it is still difficult to hear criticism about work which we have lived with and sweated over for so long, often for years. But somehow we need to listen to the criticism, be grateful for it, and find a way decide what we agree with, what we don’t, and how to apply the suggested revisions when needed.
A friend and colleague, Dr. Helen Kara, is an expert at this, She is a social scientist and professional researcher who has written many acclaimed books on research methodology and academic writing. And although she isn’t a novelist, she has a keen ear, a shrewd brain, and a generous heart. Recently, she filmed a video called Dealing With Feedback which is extremely helpful to all of us who are serious about making our writing as good as it can be – and that should be all of us, right? She has whittled this emotional morass down to six minutes of clear, concise bullet points. I highly recommend it.