How to Handle Criticism in the Editing Process

7) Be content. Be happy with your life and your skills. You can always improve both. When you are content, it shows in your writing. If you are having troubles, that will show in your work. It doesn’t matter how many flaws they find, you can correct them. It is much better for a few editors to locate problems, than thousands of readers after the book is published.

8) Be appreciative. No professional has to make time for you. When they do, be aware of how lucky you are. Not everyone can say they’ve had critiquing advice or any help, from a popular literary agency or publisher.

That’s an honor in itself. I recently searched for an agent. During the search, I found that most agents who had a negative response would say, “No thanks.” Or, “We’re not interested in this particular work.”

Yet, one agency was so nice about their response. I will always remember that. They told me how to find an agent for the material I’d completed, by contacting publishers. That was not required, they could’ve easily been just as the ones before.

Yet, they found enough merit with the material I queried to give me a little “inside” advice on how to properly go about finding an agent. The agent said, “not only will it provide you with an agent who does represent you work, it will make you look impressive through research.” They didn’t have to say that. When something such as this comes about, return a brief “thank you,” promptly and leave it at that.

9) Critiquing does not involve you or your life. The advice you consider should revolve around your work. Possibly, your weaknesses as a writer. That’s it. If you have any negative letters at all which are aimed at you, disregard them completely. Any professional editor or writer will not stoop to levels of degradation.

You might not agree with or enjoy the subject of someone’s writing, however that is all it is. Writing. This is true especially in fiction writers. Some have received letters actually calling them the, “anti-Christ.” This is harsh and should not be taken seriously.

If you have received any overtly negative responses or comments, do not listen to them. I feel that I can promise you no professional agent or editor will ever say you are an “idiot” or “stupid.” If any do, it’s best you find another professional because these individuals will probably have a reputation for abusive remarks and will be shunned by other professionals.

It isn’t easy and writing can be difficult. But, it’s what we do. With the right attitude, even editing can be an adventure. It hurts at first, but you grow to appreciate the feedback. If nothing more, bring your work up and see if the criticism is correct. You don’t have to use every suggestion, but do consider it. See if it really would improve the quality of your piece.

Laura Wright is the author of While I’m Dying and is a freelance writer/photographer for The Business Journal.