The pains of criticism, the joys of writing
I shouldn’t be writing here. A second ago I was muck deep in my text — in what psychologists call the flow. That inexorable slipstream of consciousness, where nothing gets in the way.
I sent my proposal off to a well known publisher, who requested more information, before he sent it off to be blind peer reviewed. Honestly, how bad can it get?
They either like the book or not.
The email came, and I left it unopened. Coward.
Then when I did open it, all I could see were yellow highlights. I panicked, read through them and then was crestfallen. Then three days later I read them again. What! I must have missed this, and this, and this….
“Fascinating, innovative in topic extent and scope” said one “I’m glad to see someone explaining this” said the other. “Positive” said the third.
Of course I could see the critiques too, but they were less bulbous. In fact when I spoke to the publisher ,he was full of reassurances. So what happened?
You know when you’re late for work and you’re running, and someone gets in your way, and then another and then finally at work, you tell a colleague:
What is wrong with our streets? Everyone walks as if they’re on a Sunday stroll.
Your anxiety makes you spot the things that annoy you more, when frankly it might have always been the status quo.
My anxiety about what the reviewers would say made me sensitive to their comments, when in fact what they had to say in their critique is the reason why I shouldn’t be writing this post, because it’s got me back into the flow, to strengthen the book’s proposition.
Oddly enough, I’m quite good at reflective thinking or critically evaluating dispassionately different conditions. I just lapsed in applying it to myself. Don’t respond when you’re anxious and if you are, I’m telling myself, go for a walk and review things again.
It’s common sense, which I bet you practice. It’s a trite difficult when the eye you have on the prize means everything. Then again you could make a cogent argument about how you shouldn’t let other’s judgements define you.
Ah well! back to the text then. Oh I forgot to tell you. In the same week I got a rejection to for publishing an academic paper. Can’t always win.
Yours writing away trying to get back into the flow. No more emails.