“Are You Mad at Me?”

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 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.”

A 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.

Image result for critique

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.






8 thoughts on ““Are You Mad at Me?”

  1. I’m sorry your critique was so painful. I’d give it some time, then call and try to pull out whatever constructive criticism I could to make it better. This is never the fun part of writing, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to own 50% of feedback that is hard to take. Then I can “stomach” it and there isn’t so much to change or grow.
    Also, it mitigates the possibility that her opinion is not the only valid opinion. You’re a critically astute human writer who can sift through valid and invalid critiques.
    Also, your feelings aren’t facts! They’re just feelings. Shes not hired to make you feel good, but to aid you in excelling as a writer.
    You opening yourself up for professional critique tells me a fact (not a feeling) that you are a REAL writer and willing to grow!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In my experience, if a critique is genuinely helpful, I know it’s right as soon as I read it. I might not like it but I realise the validity and then I can make the changes my ms needs.
    Not everyone likes all writing but that doesn’t mean the writing is flawed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My thoughts on this are the following:
    1. Would you consider hiring another critique and compare his or her feedback to the previous one?
    2. Is it possible you liked the style of one critique better than the other?
    3. It is also entirely possible the 1st critique had lot of emotion attached and was not able to critique objectively

    Liked by 1 person

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