Warning: Long Post and a Chance of Ranting Ahead
Everyone has an opinion, some people even have two or three. *shifty eyes*
Writers and Authors are subjected to the opinions of others when it comes to our writing. Some people will love our work. Some will hate it. And others will only think it so-so. When I was younger - and first exercising my writing talents - I rarely received feedback from others. Most of my writing was done for myself and not shared with others. Now that I am writing again, and a member of the webverse of writers and involved in a critique group, I am getting a lot of feedback.
Maybe I am sick in some way - but I do love to hear what other people think about my writing. Even if they do not like it so well. Of course I do feel a little dejected when I get negative feedback - but it is so helpful in helping me become a better writer I often over come it quickly. One thing that helps me is that I always keep it in the forefront of my mind that any feedback I get, is the givers opinion. And I am a firm believer that we are all entitled to out own opinion. (Especially me.)
However, even when I do receive negative feedback it is always delivered nicely. Since the feedback comes from friends, family, and my excellent critique partners. Some are not so gentle in delivering their opinions. In fact, some people are very gruff and rude. I have also noticed that these same people often become very defensive and argumentative when you give them negative feedback. So I would like to talk about how we can give feedback to and receive it from such people.
Here is where the rant starts. I have a pet peeve. When people tell me my opinion is wrong. If it is my opinion cannot be wrong because it is how I think or feel about something. Now if I make a statement of fact that is, indeed incorrect, then I am wrong. But if I say something like, 'I don't like the color pink.' - it cannot be wrong. Because I really don't like the color pink. So, if you are ever faced with someone who rejects your suggestions as wrong when they are just your opinion. Ignore them. You are perfectly welcome to have whatever opinion you want. And if they don't want to benefit by taking that into consideration, it is their loss. Not yours. Okay, ranting over.
If you ever encounter someone who is overly harsh in their critique of you work, get a second opinion. One person quite often can be wrong. Five or six people saying something is off, are more likely to be correct. So if one person says your writing is drivel and three people say it is good but need polish - go with the other three. (On another note if they all say your writing is drivel. Keep writing. If you love doing it, it is worth doing.) Also, if you find yourself of tender feelings you may want to consider no longer getting feedback from said individual. Overly harsh feedback is not going to be helpful to you.
Have you ever given feedback to someone and have them argue each point with you? Sometimes this can make you feel like you are not a good critiquer or that you are not being much help. And although both of those things may be true, I suggest to you take the time to look for a pattern. Also, get a second opinion from someone else whose work you have critiqued. You may need to adjust your style to be more helpful - but don't try to please everyone. But, you may only need to adjust your style for that one person. There is no point in giving them your opinion if they don't appreciate it.
I hope none of you ever give up on writing or critiquing just because one person dislikes it. There will always be someone out their that does not like your work. There is no way to avoid it. So keep writing.