Monday Musings: The Feedback Loop

There are some fears among the writing community that are prevalent across all levels of experience. From the earliest of writers to people who’ve actually pulled the trigger and published something, you’ll find shared angst. First, of course, is the fear of rejection, a haunting little notion that someone not liking your work means they hate you. Second is that you may finish something and see nothing of value in what you sunk so much time into (effectively meaning you wasted your life). And third, of course, is the dreaded task of editing.

It’s not everyone and it’s not always expressed in the same way, but edits are generally painful. They’re basically sitting down and determining how you messed up, over and over, but then having to convince yourself that the same asshole that broke it can fix it. Somewhere, deep down, every writer fears the moment where they have to say to themselves “maybe this time I do it sober and/or well rested.” And the worst part is that any good editing process involves getting the opinion of another person – and that means opening yourself up to rejection at the same time.

Understand, if you have a hundred people reading your work and 80 of those people are positive, it’s easier to take the 20 in stride. But if you have only 2 and one of them has corrections to make – that’s gonna hurt. Sure, it’s only two people, but 50% of all people who read my work hate it. But the good news is that it’s natural, so there’s no real shame to the fact that people need to learn to cope with it. In fact, the mark of greatness is generally finding a way to deal with that feedback process in stride. Countless writers thank their editors as being the one who “does the real work”, and most of them are being genuine. Unfortunately, not all of us can be that level headed and that sting sticks some people into what I’d call the “feedback loop” – searching for positive feedback until they ruin the work.

But, you see, the feedback loop is stupid, because it requires you to forget that people are stupid. Continue reading Monday Musings: The Feedback Loop