Remember back when you were mired in teenage angst and told your parents about a friend who was “ignoring” you for “some reason” but you didn’t know what or why? Can you recall that feeling of anxiety, almost fear, sitting in your center and possessing your thoughts over what you could have possibly done to make your friend “hate” you?
Now take a second and try to cull out what your enlightened parent said.
I’m going to venture a guess that it was something like: “How about you call and ask what the problem is?” or “Maybe it has nothing to do with you?”
Suggestion #1 likely led you to think that you weren’t about to call and ask because you hadn’t done anything wrong. You weren’t that desperate.
Suggestion #2 was probably met with an eye roll. Of course it had something to do with you. You were the one being ignored.
Part of making one’s way into full adulthood should include the shedding of juvenile insecurities which might lead someone to ask “Are you mad at me?” It should, but I know that I hang onto that thought even though I am unlikely to ask the question. I try to assure myself that I haven’t done anything wrong and it probably has nothing to do with me.
But still, what if . . . ?
In mid-December, I hired an editor to read a manuscript and provide feedback. While I wanted unbiased, professional reflections on my work, I also wanted her to like it.
After a month of waiting and hoping, I got her “review.” Although not an excoriation of my work, some of the criticism struck at the very heart of the story. I read her six pages of feedback once–over two weeks ago. Since then, I haven’t had the stomach to re-read it.
Because I didn’t like what I read.
The last sentence of the first, and only “positive” paragraph was this: “Overall, this is a great start.”
(Side note: Of the seven manuscripts I have, the one I gave her to review is, by far, the one that I have dedicated the most about of time to editing and improving.)
The remaining critique–which I know I not only asked for but paid a good deal of money to get–makes me contemporaneously resentful for asking and regretful for writing in the first place.
Now, I know that had the editor come back with “this is perfect in every way, don’t change a thing,” that I would have felt contemporaneously awesome for being such an astute writer and duped for having paid for “nothing.”
This editor has offered to have a phone conversation with me about the feedback and where I should go from here. I’ll admit: I’m afraid to call her for fear that I’m going to turn into a sobbing mess. That wouldn’t come off as professional. At all.
For now, I’m going to give it some space. Ignore it. Let its sting dissipate. And once I can pick my shattered ego up off the floor, I’ll read the feedback, take a deep breath, and make the follow up call.
Unless you have a better idea . . .
If so, I’m open to ideas.