I am a writer, which is good because I want to be a writer, but it is bad because I am a singular entity and I have only a singular view of the universe and therefore of my own writing. Which is why I find other people to read my writing, and as many people as possible. In my experience there are maybe three types of feedback that you need if you want to make your writing better.
1.) Feedback from fans.
For whatever reason, I’ve found that there are some people who just love my work. Even the writing that I think is stupid and horrifying, they somehow adore it and find layer upon layer of meaning in it. The fact that I sometimes hate my own writing does not make their feedback worthless. In fact, this feedback is what I rely on when I struggle to continue. It’s good to have a few die-hard fans to remind you to keep writing. However, if this were the only feedback I received I’d never feel the need to improve my sloppy work and would just bask in the warm glow of appreciation, which is why I also try to find:
2.) Feedback from haters.
On the other side of the scale are the people who just fundamentally do not get my work. Again, it doesn’t make them bad people, nor does it make their feedback irrelevant. These sorts of critiques, though, I take in very sparing amounts, like a strong spice, a little goes a long way. For example, a hater says, “This character was boring and should be removed entirely.” Although the character may in fact be crucial to the plot, I can still take a harder look at their dialogue or determine whether they are getting the work done that they needed to. I don’t rely too much on this type of feedback, though, or I may find myself in the exciting loop of worthlessness that I spend most of my time avoiding. Finally, there is:
3.) Feedback from people whose sentiments I generally agree with.
This is distinct from the feedback from fans because these people sometimes give me the very hardest and truest critiques. These are the people who say that one thing I was really, really hoping no one would notice because it basically means I have to rewrite the whole story even though I know I really should rewrite the whole story and it will make it something entirely better and truer if I do. These people are the ones who will tell you what you already know, and will force you to be the writer you know you can be. Rely on this advice as much as you possibly can.
In general, I’ve found that the more feedback I have, the better my writing. In writing I am trying to communicate with other human beings, and getting the opinions of other human beings is therefore pretty crucial. If you have any opinions on this post, please feel free to contact me or comment below. I’d like to write better ones in the future.