You’ve just finished the hardest chapter of your life! You sit back in your broken office chair and stare at the blinking cursor at the bottom of page 14.
Wahoo! you think. I’m finally done!
Not only are you done but you are excited about the words running across the page. They are beautiful! Amazing! Incredible! Words that string together to form spectacular sentences that link together to create perfect passages.
“Yes!” you exclaim to the snoring pit bull at your feet, “I have done it! And the result is amazing!”
I’d like to say we’ve all been there. Excited over something we’ve just written. So excited in fact that the first thing we want to do after saving is to send it to all our critique partners so they can see how amazing it is too! We can already see their return emails filled with praise! What harm is getting a little validation after pouring so much nasty sweat and salty tears into our little chapter, right?
But before you click that send button, I’m going to caution you to stop, cease, desist and otherwise back away from your mouse.
That’s it. Back up. Put those hands in your lap.
Why? Because you are SOOO excited and I’d like you to stay that way… for at least 24 hours. What you’re experiencing is the “I’m so awesome” high (that’s a technical term, btw). What’s going to happen (because I can see into my crystal ball) is that you’re going to send out your precious to a bunch of wonderful people who may or may not have had a bad day. Then those people are going to read it, tell you all the things you did wrong (because that is what you asked them to do) and send it back. And you’re going to go from WAHOO!!!! to *jumps from window* in a heartbeat. (It was only a one story window, so thankfully you survive).
The point I’m trying to make (I think) is that it’s a good idea to let your work simmer for at least 24 hours before you ask for any one’s input. Longer if you can help it.
You need time for your blazing bonfire of awesomeness & ego to burn down into glowing embers of excitement. You need time that will allow you to take a step back from your baby (which is really just a group of words on a piece of paper) and look at the project with some small degree of reason. You need time to separate your worth from your work so when the feedback comes pouring in (and it will because your CPs love you and want to see you succeed), it won’t hurt (as badly) and you’ll be able to process it with an open mind.
Have you ever felt beaten down by the feedback you received? Has waiting to ask for feedback helped? What other methods have you used to help you accept constructive criticism?