“The paper is just [the] manuscript. It’s not the story. The story in your head is beautiful. . . You can take a lot of comfort in knowing that all they’re doing is reacting to the manuscript. It’s not [you]. It’s not even [your] story.” –Peter Orullian
Nobody likes to get told that they stink. (Try it sometime. If you get throat-punched, then maybe you get my point.)
And yet, we like improving. We like forward progress. We like being better today than we were yesterday.
And sometimes the thing we need to improve is a thing we don’t want to hear.
I have a friend at pick-up soccer who is always dispensing research-backed wisdom about this: “Don’t tell people what they did bad! It’s scientifically proven to trigger a defense mechanism.”
It’s funny, because he seems oblivious to the immediate walls that go up between him and the people he would educate about the dangers of negative feedback. Nobody seems to care that it’s “research-backed.”
And I’ve thought a lot about this. How do I invite positive change into my life as a writer, father, and friend?
If you’re bored, or tired of getting throat-punched for your “feedback,” check out this panel on constructive feedback for writers. Some of it might be useful.