Carolyn passed away well before her time, but she left a rich legacy of advice for writers in her book and on her blogs, including Psychology Today and this one.
This is the second part of an interview she did for me back when her book, The Writer's Guide to Psychology, was about to come out.
What I’ve Learned: Advice for Writers Who Aspire to Publish
2. Be open to honest feedback: Realize that criticism of your idea or writing isn’t criticism of you. Also realize that you are not objective about your work, and that the only way you’re going to see those flaws that are hidden from you is to rely on other people. The only way you’re going to grow as a writer is to really listen and consider what others have to say – especially when their feedback isn’t all glowing. (In fact, if all you’re getting is glowing feedback, you’re not getting honest feedback. Everybody’s work has rough edges. And if you’re not getting honest feedback, it’s because you’ve somehow sent the message that you don’t want or can’t handle honest feedback. So take a step back and decide how important publication is to you. If you’re determined to get there, you need to find a way to hear and utilize constructive criticism.)
Easier said than done. Truth can sting, but it also can make us better, which is why I loved having Carolyn as a critique partner. She told it like it was, and my manuscripts were much better for that. She lived up to her own advice and accepted criticism gracefully. More information on Carolyn and her book can be found at the bottom of Part 1.
How about you? Do you have writing buddies who give and accept honest criticism? (Feel free to give them a shout out in the comments).
Mary Lindsey is one of the founding members of the QT Blog.
She writes young adult novels for Penguin USA and is the author of Shattered Souls, Fragile Spirits, and Ashes on the Waves. She also writes adult romance for Entangled Publishing as Marissa Clarke. Love Me To Death is scheduled for publication October, 2014.