The 5 Stages of Handling Feedback

Everyone has to handle feedback and goes through this. But writers? We bleed words onto the page. We agonize over them, revise them, and proofread a million times.

Then?

We have to let our writing out into the world to get feedback because we’re “too close” or something like that.

Like sending a child off to their first day of kindergarten, we impatiently wait for our baby to come home, to find out how it went.

When we read through the feedback, there’s lots of line changes and small tweaks that we nod along at. But then? There are our babies.

How dare they question those lines!

Sometimes, the feedback is just plain wrong for our story, but not always. That’s when we go through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Denial

What are they talking about? I don’t see anything wrong there? It definitely is a strong and evocative scene.

Anger

She’s WRONG! Clearly, she’s just doesn’t get my story! I tried that and it didn’t work. I wrote it this way ON PURPOSE!

Bargaining

If he finished reading, he’d see that I need this to set up a later scene! Maybe, if I just polish this up a bit, it’ll make it more clear.

Depression

Oh BLEEP. It still doesn’t work, does it? I’ll never get it right. Maybe I should just delete it. I need a break. Or I should just shelve this whole mess. Anybody got a match?

Acceptance

Hmmm, maybe they DO have a point. If I move this there, and add those details, I think it just might fix it.


Now remember! Just any form of grief, you can skip stages, the stages can come in any order, and you can revisit any stage at any point in the process.

Best of luck finding the gems in your critiques.


Tell me about some feedback that you hated — that really helped your work. How did you handle it?

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