I don’t like to get feedback in real time. Not because I can’t take it, but because my response is often far different after I’ve had time to absorb it.
I was reminded of this as I went over the notes from my editor’s feedback on my latest draft. I got feedback from him on the same draft three times – initial feedback a few weeks back, more detailed scene-by-scene feedback, and then some extra feedback on an outline I presented to him this week.
What a difference time makes! Some of the suggestions he made during the initial round of feedback, suggestions I was heavily leaning towards rejecting, I’ve now come to realize are absolutely essential changes that I must make. Others I have stood firm on, but honestly, not too many. Is he that good, or am I being too trusting? I don’t know, but here’s the lesson I draw from this:
When you get feedback, stop. Stop. Accept it all, jot down notes, ask for clarification where necessary, and then do nothing. Your first instinct will be to defend your work, to come to the defense of the elements you love so much. Don’t. Let it sit in the back of your mind until you have the necessary distance to approach it with as much objectivity as you’ll ever be able to muster. Then you may realize that some of the elements you love so much actually are hurting the story you love even more.