(Transcript) – What to do when you get really discouraging or just crappy feedback from your editor

Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  If you want to know what to do when you get really discouraging – or just plain CRAPPY – feedback from your editor, stick around. That’s what we’re talking about.  Hello. As you guys are joining pop on in the chat, let me know your name, where you’re coming from, [and] let me know if you’re NEW. If you’re new to this broadcast type “new” so I can say “hi”. And if you’re on the replay, did you know [that] you can still tap hearts? It’s awesome. If you like what we’re talking about, go ahead and tap the screen, and you can give hearts just like everybody else.


So welcome as [you’re] joining.


Miked13 ( https://twitter.com/Miked_13 ) You seem very kind.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … [laughter] Thank you. @Miked13. You’re new. What’s your name, [and] where are you coming in from?… I TRY to be kind. I try not to be a crappy, discouraging voice [laughter].  


Miked13 ( https://twitter.com/Miked_13 ) : France.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … France. Nice…


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/MiguelangRubio ) : Hey Morgan!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Hey Miguel!… Yes, but it is often a problem [laughter]  Not everyone is kind and encouraging, even if they’re giving good feedback… Let me know what you write @Miked13 from France – and someone else popped in the room too — Ooo, SEVERAL new people… I hope this means that you new people are NOT getting crappy feedback from editors. I really hope so [laughter]. I hope this is a PREVENTATIVE Scope, and not a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scope, because that would be very sad. So yes, welcome to the Scope


Charlino_KR ( https://twitter.com/charlinho_kr ) : Hellooooo!!!!!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Hello Charles! Where have you been?… You’re not British. I don’t know why I said that. You’re from Brazil [I believe], right? It’s been a while.


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/MiguelangRubio ) : Hi to the new people!!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … I know. New people. Welcome guys. Okay. So let me give yáll the rundown. If you like what we’re talking about tap hearts, [and] that is a way to let me know that you are engaged, and physically there [laughter], and makes me happy. And if you know someone who is going through the editorial process, or is getting feedback on stuff… Oh, thanks for those hearts. I think that’s Miguel… Share out! Swipe and share on Periscope, Twitter , Facebook , and help your friend figure out how to deal with that kind of feedback.


Charlino_KR ( https://twitter.com/charlinho_kr ) : Sorry for my absence!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …Oh, that’s okay Charles. You don’t have to make every Scope. You know where the replays are. And speaking of [that] I take Scope Notes for you, and post them on my web site at :


http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope  .


{This] is where the notes and replays and [soon upcoming] transcripts [are].


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Hey Morgan!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Hey, Ron’s in the room!… If you are a Scoper and a writer use our hashtag :


#periscopewriters ( https://twitter.com/search?q=%23periscopewriters&src=typd )


so we can find and support you, and heart you up, and get to know you. So use that hashtag. Alrighty guys, let’s get this rolling. I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. I’m a writing coach, an editor, and author…


Charlino_KR ( https://twitter.com/charlinho_kr ) :  Could you follow me on periscope?


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Charles, Am I not following you on Periscope? Okay. Send me a tweet @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ) and remind me, because I DO want to follow you. I can’t believe I’m not ALREADY following you. I want to do that.


Yes, so I have been on both sides of the editorial table, so to speak. I also work  with authors throughout the manuscript. So I have a lot of perspective on this feedback process.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I'm following him. Keep up.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …Oh yeah, Ron is following Charles. Nice… We are a great community, folks. We are a very cool writing community. I have to admit [that] I like being part of us. It’s good. Okay [laughter]… So my web site and blog are at http://www.paperravenbooks.com .


All right. Let’s get into it. So what do you do when you get discouraging, and/or just plain crappy feedback from your editor? I will go ahead and say [that I recommend you] read through all of the feedback. take a deep breath – take 24 HOURS if you need [laughter] – and just, kind of, sit and process and let any emotions, sort of, roll through you. Because when you write you’re super vulnerable, and ANY kind of feedback – even if it is pretty NEUTRAL feedback – is going to feel super negative at first. I mean, I know this from BOTH SIDES of the table, [because] when I sent my book off to be edited, and it came back all marked up I was like, “Dang it! I’m a terrible writer! [laughter] NOthing is ever going to be okay again!” You know, just lots of emotions roll through you. You’ve just got to be able to let that process happen. It’s totally fine [laughter]. You’re a normal human being. So give yourself a little bit of time before you react… Oh, thanks for sharing out, Ron…So DON’T react immediately. Don’t send any emails. Don’t hop on the phone. Don’t ping them on Skype. Just let it sit for just a little bit. Oh, thanks Ron [laughter]… All right. So that’s, kind of, step #1 – it’s like, chill. Okay. Step #2 is [to] really try to evaluate the feedback…


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/MiguelangRubio ) : Don't you edit your own book?


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Miguel, I DID edit my own book. Of course! But it’s almost like having a surgeon trying to perform surgery on [themselves]. You just can’t do it [laughter]. You NEED someone else’s eyes and brain on there…


Joann Krall ( https://twitter.com/JoannKrall ) : Hi :)


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Hey Joann!… So you can’t fully, completely edit your own stuff, any more than a surgeon can operate on themselves.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : FYI. Your title is one character too long for Twitter.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … My title is one character too long for Twitter… Oh drat! Good to know [that]. I hadn’t even considered that. I will now in the future…

Okay. So …[irrelevant comment] …


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I edited!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …You edited your own book?… You have an editor though, don’t you? The other day you said that you were just getting off the phone with your editor… But yes, everyone who writes their own book should EDIT their own book. If you’re like ME you edit it MULTIPLE times. BUT in the end you always send it off for feedback – SOME sort of feedback.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I edited your title for Twitter.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …Oh, you edited my TITLE. Thank you, Ron. I appreciate it… Okay. So let those emotions roll through you, and then evaluate the feedback ITSELF. Is the feedback truly NEUTRAL? Are there POSITIVE — here my question : Does the editor say ANYTHING positive? If the editor says NOTHING positive about your book, ditch them. Don’t work with them anymore. Your writing is too important and vulnerable to be trusted with someone who can’t find anything nice to say [laughter], to be perfectly honest.


That’s, sort of, a simple way to put it, but when you are evolving in your writing craft you HAVE to have SUPPORT, and that INCLUDES positive emotional support. And an editor [should never] be the PROBLEM. The editor should help you SOLVE problems in your manuscript. So when the editor POINTS OUT a problem, it should NOT be in a negative, critical way  It should be in a, [like], “Hey, this is a problem. Let me offer some suggestions.” If there is nothing CONSTRUCTIVE, or there are not SUGGESTIONS or ENCOURAGEMENT, that person is NOT WORTH working with anymore, and you should not feel the least bit guilty about ditching them and finding another editor. So don’t ever feel like you are TRAPPED in a relationship with someone who is negative, and has a dark cloud hanging over your writing. Because writing is HARD ENOUGH [that] you really don’t need a negative influence from your editor.


Okay. So I did want to go ahead and just put that out there, that there is no one perfect way to edit a manuscript, and if you feel like the editor didn’t do a great job, take what advice you CAN from them, and then move on and find someone new. That’s always an option.


Okay. But, assuming that the editor did a DECENT job [laughter], and had SOME encouragement, some constructive criticism, and fixed some things in there for you, it’s going to be difficult to go back through and make those changes. So, have that decompress time, and then I recommend reading through everything all at once, but not FIXING anything at first. Just [read] through every, and then you’re going to have to think about the fact that when you go back in to [do] revisions you have like a little TANK of energy and motivation. You need to think about where you’re going to use your energy and motivation first. So I recommend going to the MOST DIFFICULT parts of the manuscript and editing those areas FIRST.


Like, I just finished up the other day sending out my edits on a dissertation that was six chapters long, and I told her [that] when she’s going back in [to] start with chapter four. I know that’s like smack-dab in the middle, but that’s where everything comes together. So you need to use what energy and motivation you have when you are FRESHEST on the most difficult part of the manuscript, because that’s where [it’s] all going to come together. [irrelevant comment]…


Charlino_KR ( https://twitter.com/charlinho_kr ) :  Morgan, I gotta go.See you later. Thanks a lot.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Okay, Charles. Yeah. I’ll see you later… So use your energy [by coming] back to the most difficult part of the manuscript, and then start working through one edit at a time.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Now you're on Twitter


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Now I’m on TWITTER? Did you take a picture? Well, that’s interesting. Okay. Now I’m going to have to come into YOUR Scopes and start taking pictures of YOU [laughter], [like] when you’ve got they weird freeze…You’re going to make that face, and then I’m going to take a picture of it.


That’s what going to happen [laughter]. Okay. But thank you for catching a smile, and not a weird face.   [irrelevant comment] …   


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : All smiles!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) : …[In] freeze frames I make a LOT of strange faces. But it’s totally okay…. [So] start in the middle, and work your way through every single edit. And try to separate out – there’s going to be two CATEGORIES of edits, hopefully. There’s going to be a category that’s like the “nit-picky” stuff. Like,they’ll insert a comma, they’ll change around [by maybe putting] the end of a sentence at the beginning of a sentence, and [then] put a comma. Right? So little structural things like THAT I would mostly LEAVE, unless you have a really good reason not to leave those. So, kind of, go through the changes that the editor made, and for the most part I recommend accepting those, because they’re just grammar stuff – usually fairly basic – unless you have a good reason not to.


But THEN there’s like, bigger, broader edits, where you’re, kind of, stepping back and looking at the structure. Hopefully your editor has some comments there too. Those are the one you’re going to really want to delve into, and the editor may not have the perfect SUGGESTION for you. So the editor may highlight a paragraph and say, “This doesn’t totally make sense.”


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/MiguelangRubio ) : Can you put me in writer group on Twitter with my new handle?


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Miguel [says], “Can you put me in writer group on Twitter with my new handle?”… Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me. I will do that. I will follow Charles, and put Miguel in the #periscopewriters [hashtag] group. Thank you…When the editor highlights a sentence or paragraph, and says, “This isn’t working for me.” and then [maybe] offers a suggestion. You DON’T necessarily have to take that suggestion. What the editor is doing for you is pointing out a place where there’s a problem, but it is YOUR job to figure out how to FIX that problem, because it’s YOUR writing. So this is where you really step up and OWN the fact that this is YOUR writing. So an editor may be able to offer some suggestions, but MOSTLY you need to take this as an indication that there is a problem that YOU, as the author, have to go back and address.


So ultimately, what I would REALLY like to encourage you to take away from this is that even when you send something out to be edited it is ultimately YOUR work. You are still the one who is responsible for it.  So you’ve, kind of, got to step up and say, “Okay. Here are some areas where there are some problems. I’m going to figure out the best way to FIX those problems.” And if there’s anything you don’t like, change it back! And if you don’t like the editor, DITCH them and get a NEW one! You know? Like, maintain control over YOUR manuscript, YOUR words, YOUR message. Because a lot of people, I think, when they hand their manuscript over to an editor they’re like, “I don’t know. It’s in the hands of God now. Whatever you want to do with it.” [laughter]  But that’s NOT the attitude you should have. [You should] maintain an attitude of agency, of deliberation and determination, and that this is still YOUR WORK.  The editor is going to have SUGGESTIONS, but you’ve still got to step up to the plate and make your book actually polished and ready to go.


So that’s really my encouragement for you. I mean, I’m not trying to let the editor off the hook, but I AM trying to motivate you to remain encouraged that even if an editor finds lots of stuff that they SUGGEST, it’s still YOUR book. And I think [that] in yesterday’s Scope someone asked like, “Between an editor and an author who wins the argument?” It’s the AUTHOR! It’s YOU! It’s YOUR book! Write it the way you want to write it. But make sure that other people have read it, and that you have other input. Okay? So you’re not writing in a vacuum, but you have other people’s feedback. You take it into consideration, and then YOU make the ultimate decision, because this is YOUR book.


Thank you guys for the hearts [laughter]. That’s my message for you. I hope that this weekend you get to do some writing. Is anyone going to be doing some writing this weekend? Tap in the chat “Yes.” if you are doing [some] writing this weekend.


Joann Krall ( https://twitter.com/JoannKrall ) : Yes!


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Joann is doing some writing. I like that… I’M doing some writing… Miguel is doing some writing on fire… Don’t set your thumbs on fire…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Yes.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …Ron is doing some writing. Ron is ALWAYS writing. I don’t know how you write so much. It’s awesome, but it’s, kind of, crazy, but good [laughter] – in a good way. Alrighty guys….



Jenna Vasquez ( https://twitter.com/jennvazquezfit ) : Sort of.  [I] started writing ideas and notes.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) : … Sort of!. Okay. Writing ideas and notes DOES count, but just, you know… Jenn, are you doing some freewriting? Because you know I like freewriting… Do yáll type, or do you write with pen and paper? Just curious? I don’t even know hardly how to write with pen and paper. I take notes when I’m talking to people on the phone, and they’re so messy. It’s like, “”Do you know how long it took me to write this in a legible way?” [laughter].


Joann Krall ( https://twitter.com/JoannKrall ) : Type.


MIguel Rubbio ( https://twitter.com/MiguelangRubio ) : Both.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  … Joann types, [and] Miguel does both [laughter]… It’s like I can’t handwrite anymore.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Type.


Morgan MacDonald ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac) :  …Ron types. Yeah… I’m just curious… Alrighty guys. Thank you for hanging out. I hope yáll have a wonderful weekend. Do lots of writing. .. Jenn, taking notes and writing ideas totally counts. Just set some time aside… Alrighty guys. Bye.  




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