I’m not interested in your criticisms of what I’ve finished. I’m really not. I’m moving on to the next thing. If you like it, that delights me, it inspires me to make the next thing. It’s motivational. If you don’t like it? I don’t care. I’m not changing it. Certantly not for someone who doesn’t like it. Perhaps that seems harsh. But I’ve found that spending too much time looking back keeps me from moving forward.
This started when I launched 365 Tomorrows – I and five writers wrote 365 flash fiction stories over the course of a year. I wrote 84 of those stories. There were days when people would post on the forums that a story I wrote was the worst they’ve ever read, that the site was going downhill, that we were just putting utter garbage out there. Then, on the same day, I’d get an e-mail from someone who told me that Exact Same Story made them cry at their desk because it touched them so deeply. It changed my relationship with criticism.
It’s not that I’m not in an eternal quest to get better. I’ll be trying to improve my abilities till I’m dead. I take classes, beg for feedback from artists and editors, and I’m interested in what really strikes people, what they enjoy, and what they want to see more of. But I’ve found that wallowing in the feedback of people who really just do not like what you are doing is counterproductive. I might make them happy by changing my style but I wouldn’t be keeping with my own truth.
I don’t like looking back, checking over my shoulder to fix old work. I would much rather create something new.