Trusting Your Gut When Getting Reviews

Not everyone is going to love you. I think most of us with a rational part in our functioning brain can agree on that. Sometimes, though, I forget that the opposite is true.

Not everyone is going to hate you.

Last week, I submitted two pages of my WIP to RU for a workshop they’re doing on POV. And my first two pages are up for the internet world to see and comment on. While we’re only halfway through the week, already I have learned something from this exercise and have some great ideas on ways to strengthen those first two pages.

But, if you want to see how one piece of writing can get two completely opposing responses, take a look at the comments to my entry.

Last night when I first read the comments, the last one posted was the one that basically says my two pages are confusing, poorly organized, and would not promote anyone to read on. I’ll admit to being a little surprised, a little gutted, and a lot confused. After all, my CP had read these two pages and hadn’t felt the same, and I disagreed with some of the assumptions this commenter made as well. But, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I became very afraid that the author running the workshop and everyone else would jump on the “this sucks” bandwagon.

Thankfully, not long after I read those comments (and began obsessively checking for more) the author running the workshop came along and disagreed with the negative comments. Obviously, my pages weren’t perfect but she couldn’t see the problems the other commenter had pointed out.

I let out a sigh of relief. Neither me nor my CP was crazy!

The point here is that when you allow your work out their for critique, whether it is a contest, a workshop, the internet, etc… you’re always going to have opposing voices. Readers are various, complex, and different and few people are going to read the same thing with the same response. And that’s okay.

What I’m learning is, as a writer, I have to trust myself a little bit in the face of these comments. Usually when I get negative comments the immediate reaction is “Noooooo.” But then I think about it and one of two things happens. Either I start to realize they’re right no matter how much I don’t want them to be, or I just keep saying… no… no…I really don’t see it.

I think that’s my gut, telling me what works and what doesn’t. And I think as writers, we have to trust that gut.

(Now, if your gut is always telling you you’re right, wonderful, amazing and above reproach… you may need a new gut).

So, I got some of that positive feedback I’d been searching for as mentioned in yesterday’s post. And then I got a little more encouragement… Back in February, I entered the Romance Junkies 2011 contest and the finalists are now posted and… I am one! This is my first final in a contest and it means I have about a 25% chance of winning at least a partial critique from a Carina Press editor. Even if I don’t place, I’m feeling good about being a finalist in something for the first time.

So, once you realize you don’t need outside encouragement is just about the time you get it. And maybe I don’t need it, but it sure feels good!

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