Monday, October 17, 2016


I've never actually gotten much criticism of my work.

Family and friends and teachers might say they didn't "get" something, and rejection letters from publications are usually form letters or "we enjoyed [specific thing], but don't feel the story is the right fit."

But right now, one of my short stories is in a contest. And members of a forum are voting and commenting on it. The stories are anonymous, and the comments are honest.

I won't link to the site or be too direct with my paraphrasing (so I don't accidentally un-anonymous-ize it), but so far the comments go along these lines: The writing is good but repetitive, I liked the story, but the writer could explain less and be more subtle."

I don't know what I expected to say, and I don't know how I expected I'd feel reading honest comments from strangers.

And I actually still don't know how I feel. Kind of sick to my stomach because I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to do anything even a little bit wrong. Sad because I disappointed the readers with something less than perfect.

But at the same time, these are not awful reviews and they aren't telling me anything about my writing I'm not already aware of.

And they did say they liked it and the writing is good!

In a way, I really don't care what anyone thinks of me or my writing. Which sounds like self confidence but actually stems from my lifelong lack of desire to fit in (I communicated primarily by meowing when I was 8, if that gives you an idea of my social life). But it also hurts something awful to know, however subjectively, someone didn't like something I did. (And the weird thing? The specific line that people didn't care for? Those are the ones I thought were clever.)

I think the moral of this story is "don't read reviews unless you're really emotionally stable." Or possibly "nothing good happens in the comments section." (But then, I don't like stories with morals. Because everyone's tastes are different!)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go check the polls to see how much I'm losing by.


  1. Feedback is hard. But if you take it as ways to make your work better, and you don't take it as an attack on you, it can be a good thing. Do you belong to a writers group?

    1. I agree; the chance to improve is always a good thing. I don't belong to a writer's group. Never seemed like something I wanted to do for some reason.