Find the good in what they said or asked, Silver.
It’s always there, even if they didn’t mean for it to be there.
Clues for what you want, Silver, are hidden all around you.
I’m in the middle of judging an unpublished contest. As a judge, I’m expected to make comments both in the manuscript and on the judge form. As a judge, I need to find encouraging things to say, even when there’s not so much there.
Every writer needs to start somewhere. Every writer needs to learn their craft. Every writer needs to develop a very thick skin. These are givens. But at the same time, a person with the dream of being a writer needs encouragement. It’s up to me to find the good in what they said. I don’t want to be the person who caused that person to quit, to give up on their dream.
But at the same time, when I struggle with my own writing, these words ring true as well. Reviews. Yeah. Even the bad ones can hold clues to making me a better writer. But man, it’s hard to read them sometimes, even with a thick skin.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that readers should only post rainbows and unicorns, especially if they had an issue with a book. I want them to be honest about my work. At the same time, the trolls who attack can take a flying leap off the nearest tall building. There’s a difference between honest opinion and gang mentality–but that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I’m working on my Sherlock-ly skills. Today, I’m looking for ways to be gentle and encouraging while still pointing out flaws. And I’m also looking for the clues flung my way about how to live this writing life.
Writers, thoughts on reviews and/or critiques? Readers, thoughts on the reviews you make?