Tip for Writers: How Not to Take an Editor’s Corrections Personally
For a productive writer in any genre, there is rarely time to get down about editorial corrections or criticism. Yes, it may sting sometimes and no writer enjoys seeing their work dissected and critiqued, but good writers find a way to come back stronger than ever.
It’s quite normal to take comments and remarks personally when we feel they are about us. We let it drain on our emotions and self-esteem, even if we aren’t completely sure we were the intended target.
As a writer, there is no such safety cushion. You know the criticism is being directed at you, and sometimes it’s pretty direct. Still, getting worked up about it won’t make the piece better or improve your writing ability, so it’s best to learn how to deal with it.
Find the Answer Within
The first thing you have to do when you’re trying not to take the editor’s corrections personally is take an objective look at the stories you tell yourself. If you notice a lot of inner dialogue that deals with people “out to get you” or similar victim rants, it’s probably time to change the stories you tell yourself.
These stories often have little to do with actual facts, and are usually modified from reality to justify the results you didn’t like. Once you quit trying to justify the lackluster response or review, you’ll be on your way to breaking the habit of taking things so personally.
People are People
And, even though it doesn’t feel good to see the marks and the comments, it’s important to remember that editors are people too. They have good days and bad days, they overbook sometimes, forget their laptop at home, the whole nine yards.
They might take on an almost god-like position in the life of a writer, but on the other end of that pen is a living, breathing human just like you and me. Occasionally, it may be ok to cut the editor some slack and acknowledge the possibility that they were having a bad day.
Tips for Letting Go
Of course, there are dangers involved with becoming too robotic about writing criticisms and corrections. If you let everything roll off your back, you’ll always miss the bigger message, and with it, opportunities to improve. Here are some tips to help you weather the critical storm:
- Look at the critique as if it’s about another writer.
- Determine what part is useful, then take that with you going forward.
- Write down the useful criticisms in your own words; this will help remove some of the emotion attached.
- Turn those criticisms into goals.
There, you’ve just turned a hurtful correction or critique into a writing goal that will empower you. Keep in mind that if there is an editor out there who is not professional and really does have an issue with you, it will all come out before too long. Just keep being a pro and keep learning, and everything will work out in the end.