I have received a lot of feedback for my writing over the years; feedback for essays, papers, short stories, screenplays, stage plays, and newspaper columns. With each round of revisions, I have stared at the feedback, particularly the more critical parts, and wondered why the reader hated me. Why did they think that I failed in this part, or the other? Am I wasting my time? Sometimes I walk away feeling completely uninspired and dejected. I resent taking any suggestions or making any changes because I feel like the reviewer was out to get me. Or that the reviewer didn’t know what they wanted out of the piece, or didn’t consider what I was trying to say, and threw the baby out with the bathwater.
But the feedback that I almost always consider, and often implement, is that given appropriately. It is the feedback that builds up and edifies, not tears down and insults. I am far more receptive to “this part is good, but this was lacking; here’s a suggestion for fixing it” than to “this doesn’t work.” When someone is thoughtful enough to add suggestions or positive reinforcement, it builds trust and I feel like their point of view is far more credible because they thought about what I was creating.
In terms of a goal for implementing feedback I receive, it is to be careful about the feedback that I implement. I often blow off compliments and focus on the criticism. That’s just how I work because if I focus on the positive feedback, it will go to my head and I’ll be no good to anyone. But I also tend to be a people pleaser, so I have to be careful that I only make changes that will strengthen what I want the piece to be, not what everyone else wants my piece to be. And when I revise, I make sure to keep it my own voice and style; I am revising my work to create a more refined incarnation of my work.