Dealing with writing criticism

I love the randomness of existence; so Monday morning there was a knock on the door and a great lorry craned a large bag of sand onto our driveway. The snow cover and the icicles everywhere make laying brick paths unwise. Instead I managed to send an email to an agent, who felt like the right person for my Prisoner of War non-fiction book – though the firm is closed for submissions, so I have probably just annoyed him. I also finally posted a submission to an agent for my fiction book Border Line.

An interesting post on How I Handle Rejection on Shannon’s blog made me reflect on how I handle both rejection and praise. I went to a recent email from a friend who had read Border Line critically for me and realised that I had lapped up the praise and not paid enough attention to the criticism. I had dealt with the post-it notes on the manuscript, but not really listened to a more fundamental worry in the covering email. So I spent a happy few hours – and I mean happy – addressing the problem. It is so much easier when someone has kindly identified the sticky patch or the unreal person. When you are writing you tend to have your nose up against the leaves and the shape of the trees get lost.

My mood underwent some yo-yo transformations as I tried to alter the picture for the (imaginary) cover of Border Line on my website. I learnt, as I always do on these occasions, a lot about how not to work in iWeb, but finally I got it sorted. Then, having published the new version, I was maddened to find that one page uploaded the new version, but another stuck to the old. Much trial and error later, I could get the new pages correct only of I used the www. before my address. Today it works properly. There are some gnomes working hard behind the scenes and I just don’t quite speak their language.

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