About ten years ago, an editor told him something along the lines of “If you have to try to write #kidlit, then at least learn to be good at it…”
There are some editors out there, even well-credentialed ones, who are overly harsh in their feedback and overly confident in their opinions.
I always try to be direct and honest with my edits, but I also try to be humble about my views. I recognize that I’m just one viewpoint, and it’s one that’s inevitably a product of my background and experiences.
But it’s also because I’ve seen plenty of writers grow through time. Including, well, myself.
I did not start off as a promising writer. I wasn’t accepted to advanced creative writing courses, and my professors probably would have tabbed me as one of the least likely to eventually have their novels published. But I persevered, I internalized every bit of feedback I received, and gradually I got better.
I work with writers of all ability levels, and some manuscripts I see are in pretty rough shape. But that doesn’t mean that author isn’t going to grow! I’ve seen manuscripts that started in a really weak spot and transform into a professional, polished work with just a single edit. Sometimes people just need the right guidance.
If you receive harsh, overly confident, and condescending feedback: just ignore it. No one possesses a crystal ball about your writing career. No one knows everything about the industry.
If you receive feedback like Saranyan did, you’re learning more about the person delivering it than your own work. It’s hard not to let it get to you, but try your best to shut it out and just keep writing.
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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Art: Daniel’s Answer to the King by Briton Riviére