Posted by: Michelle Knoll | March 30, 2012

Getting Feedback On My Writing

I received a surprise email last night.

It was feedback for a chapter I submitted to a writing contest some months ago.  To be honest, I had forgotten about it.

Part of me was excited that someone actually took the time to evaluate my writing.  And part of me was deflated over the things that were said.

But if I’m going to be in this type of work, then I’ve got to grow the “thick skin” everyone talks about, and get used to the fact that I’m not perfect and my writing needs work.

Evidently, a lot of work.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

Chapter One.  Page One.




  1. The thing is, you’ve put something out there into the big wide world. A lot of people don’t for fear of rejection. You need to determine whether this feedback is useful to you (not everyone might think the same way). If you think the points are valid or that they’d make your novel stronger, then make the changes and get the manuscript back out there.

    All the best with it.


    • Thanks, Matt.
      You’re right, you know. I really need to make that determination. Especially after another well-known critic looked it over and said, “You’d better finish this novel!” I think I’ll go back to him and even possibly show him this critique, and ask his opinion of it. I mean, some of the points were valid, and I bet he’d agree. But it would be nice to discuss it with him.
      Can my novel be stronger? Oh, definitely. I’m a newbie writer, you know that. So I know i have a lot of work to do. But like you said, at least I’ve taken the first step. I don’t have to fear being rejected again, huh? LOL!
      Thanks again, Matt. Hey, when do I get to read one of yours? 🙂

  2. Aw, I am dreading this too. Only my very close friends have read excerpts from my first novel and I am sure all the feedback was sugar-coated. I really have no idea what my writing is like, so I entered some short story & flash competitions – I best start growing my thick skin in advance of heart-crushing critiques down the line.

    Good Luck!!

    • Hey, thanks for reading and commenting! I understand the dread part. When I submitted this same chapter to another person for critiquing, I was really nervous. My only thought was, “he’s gonna think my writing is horrible.” But he didn’t, even though he found a lot of silly errors that I should have caught myself.
      I hope you do well with the competitions you’ve entered! When will you find out the results?
      Blessings to you, too!

  3. At least there must have been promise since they got back to you! You will use this, readjust, and move forward. I know you are going to be a great writer!!

    • Well, Cindy, that’s an awesome way to look at it! Yes, there must be promise if they were willing to send me feedback. Thank you! And thanks for the vote of confidence. I really appreciate you! 🙂

  4. Hey there Michelle, Just a quick thought about writing and thick skins. Here’s how I made my peace with editors, managers, and one pesky vice-president and his green pencil (days in corporate world where the VP loved to edit advertising copy!): I finally figured out I would write my best, know I was using the gifts God gave me, and then leave the results up to Him. Now, your “evaluators” will not always be right. Guess the point is to know what you know, and trust that the results will give honor to the gifts you have been given. Does that make sense? Another way to say it is to give up the…..ooooh, wait for it…..pride of authorship. (ducking here, tomatoes may be coming my way). Trust me, this is as much for me as anyone. I’m Irish,….pride and stubborn are built in. I’m trying, trying to learn prudence and humility. Will be working on that forever.

    Keep writing Michelle. The message is in there. Timing and knowing your heart are key factors. Just must not be the right publisher, contest, or evaluator. Keep on keeping on!

    Janet Howard

    • Oh my goodness, Janet, I don’t know of a bit of pride in you anywhere! You are one of the most humble people I know.
      And what you said made perfect sense, and yes, I need to give up the pride of authorship. It’s just hard sometimes, because that piece of writing came from the soul and the heart, and a lot of the writer is invested into what’s on that piece of paper (or screen, as the case may be).
      But still, I have to remember that the goal is for the reader to be drawn in to the story. If the reader isn’t captivated, and drawn to turn the page, then what’s the point?
      That’s the importance of critiques: you get to see how a “reader” is going to react to what you think is Pulitzer material. Mine’s not Pulitzer material yet. And notice I said, “yet.” 🙂
      I will keep on keeping on, Janet! And thanks for your kind words, and sound wisdom. I appreciate you!

      I will

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