I’ve been getting dribs and drabs of feedback from the beta readers who currently have a copy of my manuscript, Temporary. Some of it has been delivered in a cordial, friendly, manner, other parts were provided in a very straight forward, direct, way.
Sure, a lot of it (the majority, in truth) have felt like numerous sucker punches to the gut; or, to make it more relatable to what I know: a choke finally being sinked in under my throat, after having been fought off so valiantly for so long.
Its had me feeling like this, captured so perfectly by my man, The Doctor:
Crucially though, whether the beta readers were providing positives or negatives all of it has been given constructively.
It’s never easy to receive feedback. Its very nature suggests that there will perhaps be copious amounts of notes and observations (all processed through that persons personal filter) that exist for no other reason than to highlight every issue and fault within your project; be it a book, a comic, a movie, a painting, or whatever your chosen art form is.
Depending on the feedback, it may feel as though someone is screaming in your face, ripping apart your dreams into tiny shreds in front of you.
Perhaps it’s easier to simply give up.
You need to learn to develop thick skin when attempting to create something, because art is truly subjective.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but it can become very difficult to disassociate the personal and the constructive. You’re usually so close to your project that those two become intertwined in a way that was simply not intended by the one providing the feedback.
It’s a genuine skill to be able to untangle those two and appreciate them for what they are.
That being said, I can’t deny that receiving some form of positivity, even if it’s within a report of mostly constructive take aways, helps to soften any blow you may come across. To know that somebody had numerous problems with what you’ve made, yet are still able to highlight at least a few instances that they enjoyed, can be enough to motivate a person onwards with their dream project.
I encourage you, if it’s there, to please provide a glimmer of hope for whomever you are helping out with your notes/thoughts/observations: try and give a sprinkling of positivity amongst it all.
For me most recently, having Temporary, and my writing style, be compared to Ernest Cline, as well as Mark Millar, has been enough to help carry me through some of the harder feedback I’ve also received recently. Sometimes that’s enough.
I’ll leave you with this quote. Yes, I’ve quoted him before (and may do so again in the future), but it doesn’t dull the poignancy of the wise words of talented writer/director/geek overlord, Kevin Smith.
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What are your thoughts/experiences with feedback in the past? Have you ever received anything that caused you to either carry on or, sadly, give up on a project? I’d love to hear about it, so if you have something to share, shout out below!