Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Assume the Best

Assume the Best
Working With Editors Series: Part Two
Net's Notations Tuesdays
Remember last week how we talked about applying grace to your editor/author relations? You’re about to sense a theme. *grin*

Raise your hand if you’ve entered contests. Good for you! Get your name and work out there. Get some feedback. Takes courage. And then you get the responses. Sometimes I’ve wondered what planet the third judge hailed from. Can I hear an amen? The other two seemed in sync, giving similar (higher) scores. But that third one, the one who graded me with something around a 67% (ouch), what happened? 

Honestly, I can’t accept the comments right away. I’ll read them, but then I need some time to process what I’ve just seen—like, say, a week or two. No kidding. But then, when I do sit down with the comments and uncomfortable scores, it helps to tackle them with this idea: assume the best.

It’s so easy to miss what the judge (or editor) is trying to say if we don’t assume grace. Remember, the one giving the feedback is trying to help. In the case of an editor, we are hoping to help you make the story stronger, build your brand, give additional credibility to your name as an author. If you keep that in mind as you review our comments/changes, those “marks” will be easier to take. No one likes to be critiqued. But no one’s perfect. So we all need feedback in order to write better.

Next time you receive feedback on your writing, whether from your crit group or an editor, or possibly even a contest judge, remember to assume the best. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Apply that grace we talked about last week. Just because they’ve found things that could use a change doesn’t mean they’re against you. Don’t take it personally.

Next week, another step in the process of working well with your editor: how to tackle edits.