Reading a Critique of My Novel is. . .
painful. It’s necessary. It’s helpful. But it’s painful. So, I’ve developed an avoidance strategy that helps me deal with the pain. No, I don’t avoid the critique altogether, because that’s not helpful. I need and want feedback on my novel. But my ego doesn’t like it. Not one little bit!
Here’s what I did this time: I asked for critiques during a time that I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the novel revision because of other projects, family obligations and the season of the year. I openly told my critiquers that I was busy with something else, so take their time: I didn’t want them dropping important projects for a rush critique.
Then, when the critiques came in, I skimmed them. And closed the file.
Six Weeks Later – Distance
I’m now ready to start seriously digging into the novel, changing set-up, back story, character motivations, character descriptions, character qualities, setting, plot events and anything else I can find to work on. Re-reading the critiques this week was OK. I had some distance and I’m ready for the process. Distance has helped.
Before the cooling off period? The critiques seemed harsh, the critiquer as discouraging as possible. The novel in question seemed ready for the trash.
Now? The critiques seem gentle and helpful. They are indeed pointing out flaws that must be addressed, exactly what I needed and wanted. The critiques seem almost encouraging.
Almost. Well, yes, there’s still an ego problem. Always will be. But I can deal with the critiques now and early this summer, I just couldn’t. For me, the cooling off period has been essential.