I have been fortunate to be involved in a book swap with other writers. It has been a lot of fun to read works in process and offer assistance. I feel like a schoolgirl whose crush has spoken to her when I read positive words about my own work. The criticism, however, stings raw and fresh.
After the stinging grows comfortable the true benefit of criticism slinks in. More then the highly coveted praise, criticism allows me to grow as a writer.
First and foremost a writer needs thick skin. Or a really thick shell, along with the ability to avoid the Internet all together, or not search for anything remotely related to writing. Since I fail at that and will continue to fail, I need that thick skin for those times I can’t drown myself in a thick drink.
More importantly criticism allows me to rework my novel. As the sting fades the mind is still working, thinking over the words. And slowly parts begin to make sense. Sections do need strengthening. Especially after more then one person says the same thing, then it’s game on for revision.
Back to editing. Take 5,556. I won’t be able to correct all criticism. But I will be able to see the areas that make sense to me and make those parts better. Two steps back, one step forward. The end goal remains the same. The stinging gone, my mind is working on how to fix the affected areas.
At the end of the day my work will be better for the criticism, better for listening to the criticism. Or maybe that’s the alcohol talking?