Some people refute all criticism of their work or refuse to acknowledge it. They're very sure that they're right and that their work is perfect. The thing is -- that's a crap way to ever improve your craft. That theory of criticism ("I'm so awesome, you're so dumb") seems to lurk around the outskirts of the writing community, on blogs that revolve around spewing vitriol about rejections and critiques, or some of the more tricksy arguments for self-publishing.Read the whole thing. Mandelo proceeds to explain why she thinks people reject that resource: In order to take advice, "you have to acknowledge your mistakes." That's a bullseye quote, as far as I'm concerned. I don't know what it is about writing that makes you so sensitive to criticism, but one of my most painful memories comes from being told that my professional writing efforts really hadn't ever been up to snuff. Never mind that the evaluation was more true than not. It still stung and made withdraw from others' opinions for nearly two years afterward. Now it's that reaction which makes me cringe. How much improvement did I barter away for the dubious luxury of twenty-four months of hurt feelings?
Alternately, look at the acknowledgments page of any given book. There are a lot of people to thank: partners, kids, and friends, but also the writer's editor, their agent, their critique groups and their beta readers. I'd say there's a good reason for that. Stories don't grow in a void. One of the most important things I've learned in my writing career is that other people can see things I can't in my work. The value of a fresh pair of eyes on a text is immeasurable, especially when those eyes belong to someone who makes their living finding good stories and making them better.
Why waste that help, that awesome resource?
(Picture: CC 2010 by seantoyer)