We’ve had some really great posts on here about overcoming fear, self doubt, deadlines, etc. All of these things play a part in our evolution as writers. There is another thing I’d like to bring up, though. Something that has been my biggest hurdle to overcome.
How much feedback is too much?
I used to use this website called Scribophile. It was an amazing thing when I first discovered it. Writers helping other writers with critiques and feedback. It was an amazing step for me, invaluable. It was the first time anyone outside little circle read most of my work. It was the first time another writer looked at my work. I made some amazing friends there and learned so much about writing and myself.
Somewhere along the way though, the feedback crossed over from helpful to hurtful. I know, you have to take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt. But when your writing is in it’s infancy, that’s almost impossible to do.
I began writing a fairytale, a dark humor totally macabre fairytale. And I put it up on Scrib. Some people loved it, some not so much. And that is totally fine. But somewhere in the criticism of those critiques I became overwhelmed. I felt the need to defend my story. Like, obviously super helpful Scribber, my fairytale listed in the humor category isn’t uber realistic.
Anyway, I started to lose myself. I couldn’t get all the suggestions out of my brain. I couldn’t stop thinking that I was doing it wrong. Like do these people reading my work not understand satire… or do I not understand it? Honestly it affected me so much that I put the story down. Not forever, but I did put it away for now.
I didn’t realize that the problem was too much feedback too early. That is why people use beta readers. Your story, your vision needs to be fully developed before you open it up to criticism, and even then it needs to be people within your audience.
I didn’t understand this until I wrote my newly published story Wrong Time in the Story of a Kiss Anthology. Thanks to our deadline, I didn’t really have time to post my story to Scrib. Instead I wrote the entire thing and then let a very select few people read the first draft. Something about the inhibition of trying to meet a deadline and lack of critcism (whether “constructive or not”) combined helped me create something I’m so proud of. It honest brought back my motivation to write my fairytale.
You have to write the story you want to read. And for me, I have to do it without the opinions of others, at least not until my story is fully realized and complete.
Emily is a newly published author writing as Emma Marie Leigh. She writes everything from fairytales to serial killers; although currently she is working on the sequel to Wrong Time: Excavated. She loves writing stories that explore human nature in a darkly humorous light. She is thrilled to share her first novella with you!
When she isn’t writing, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and studying history. Otherwise she is reading, beaching, watching movies, and plotting. Plotting books, not murders.
Well, sometimes murders.