5 Days on Psychology of Revising
For six years, I’ve taught the Novel Revision Retreat across the country and I’ve thought a lot about the psychological issues that writers face as they face the work of revising a novel. It’s interesting that most psychological discussions of writing involve writer’s block. Not much discussion of everyday issues of a working writer. Of course, I’m not a psychologist: these are just my observations. Your experience for any particular novel may vary widely from this!
Top 10 Ways to Stop the Sting of Critiques
Yesterday, we talked about the fear and humility of receiving critiques. Here are my slightly tongue-in-cheek Top 10 Ways to take the Sting out of Critiques!
- Avoidance: Have someone else read the critique for you and only highlight the good comments. Read only the highlighted comments.
- Revenge: Give the creep back an ever harsher critique than you just got.
- Denial: Write out the reasons why the critiquer is totally off base. Ignore all suggestions.
- Excitement: Fake excitement about the critique and tell everyone you know exactly what’s wrong with the story and how you plan to fix it.
- Suspicion: Read each comment with the suspicion that the critiquer is trying to get your manuscript out of the running, so their own manuscript will do well. Therefore, you can safely ignore any comments you want to.
- Surprise: Allow each comment to be a revelation at how far off base this critiquer is.
- Pride: Take pride in your ability to “take it” from the tough ones.
- Loneliness: Understand that you and you alone are in the situation of receiving harsh critiques; such things have never been written about any manuscript and will never be written again.
- Forgiveness: Realize that the critiquer has sinned by so harshly criticizing your story and at some point they will have to come and ask for forgiveness; be ready to give it gracefully.
- Hope: Find hope in the good things the critiquer noticed, and Hope in the process of revision.