"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


...or a critique. Because hearing others tell us what needs to be changed in our work can be painful.
Because we are in love with our stories.
And we think they are perfect.
And we can't imagine why the world doesn't feel this way, too.

But reality hits and the critique comes in, and our rosy colored world can come crashing down.
(um, if this hasn't happened to you, then you're either the rare, perfect author, or you aren't getting enough feedback on your work. You decide.)

We here at The Place (being K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, Madeline Smoot, and sometimes member Jenny Ziegler) have come up with a list to help you cope with this event.

We give you...


1) Drink eight cups of coffee
We recommend picking a favorite coffee mug for this step, and avoid anything that can be crushed (such as Styrofoam).

2) Hide the critique in the freezer

Things have a way of getting lost in the freezer, at least in mine. I'm thinking the critique could hang out with that half-full bag of frozen peas that never seems to get used. Or maybe those ice cubes in the far back that you have to chip off the walls.

3) Tell your cat or dog or tortoises about it

The love you. They agree with you. They listen and never tire of hearing your voice.
And they think you are the rare, perfect author.

4) Commiserate with writer friends at The Place.
Unless of course they were the ones to give you the critique. In that case, go back to step (3).

5) Cry.

6) Bury yourself in a plate of nachos and eat your way out.
If you're going gluten-free, substitute yogurt and nuts for this step.
(But come on, you know you want the nachos.)

7) Take up belly dancing.
You would look fab in that belly dancing costume.

8) Use your Kung Fu skills to pummel a pillow

9) Try to hold off on responding for as long as possible.
Except for a nice thank you. There is always a place for a nice thank you in the world.

10) Read or watch something inspiring and make a plan of attack.
I recommend this video.

And then get busy revising!


christine M said...

Wonderful tips! And well worth taking to heart. Though I'm not sure about the eight cups of coffee - but that's only because I'm a tea drinker.

Marieke said...

Great tips! And yes, totally tell your pet. My cats are very understanding! <3

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm so gonna kick a pillow now! And that was an awesome video - I loved it!

Colene Murphy said...

Awesome tips! Love the list, thank you!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Chris! I think only certain days call for the eight cups of coffee. It's totally a mood thing.

Thanks, Marieke! I bet your cat thinks you are perfect!

I adore the video, Nicole! It gets me inspired every time I see it. So glad you watched it!

Thanks, Colene! They were fun to come up with, and I'm glad they are helpful, too!

Mandy said...

ha ha ha love love love your tips, especially the freezer...an awesome hiding spot.

Gail said...

Love the tips and the video.

Now if I just knew how to write!

storyqueen said...

I just got my editorial letter....and I need those nachos!!


Unknown said...

Love it! lol

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love your ideas especially the coffee.

PJ Hoover said...

Mandy, I think if I put mine in the freezer, it will never come out!

Thanks, Gail! Keep at it, and before you know it, you'll be an expert.

Whoo hoo, Shelley! We can share virtual nachos. They do look good, don't they!

Thanks, Karen!

Thanks, Natalie. It's hard for me to believe there was a time that I never drank coffee. How did I ever make it?

Shannon Messenger said...

LOL. I love this. But you left out the margaritas! Oh, and the curling up in the fetal position. Or maybe that's just me... :)

PJ Hoover said...

Not just you, Shannon, though wine normally beats out the margaritas for consolation around here :)

Becca said...

humorous and informative

Ronald L. Smith said...

Great advice!

I don't think I can drink any more coffee! I am addicted as it is.

Unknown said...

Haha best advice ever? I think so!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Becca! Some topics do pave the way for humor :)

Then you're already in a good place, Ron. Here's to coffee!

Thanks, Anne! May all your revisions go great!

Miriam Forster said...

I LOVE that video. Also the tips. Excellent ideas!

I usually read through without changing anything, then go through a crying/eating/punching phase. But if you let it sit long enough, the sting goes away a bit and the suggestions make more sense.

I still wish all my drafts were perfect, though...

Jodi Henry said...

This is great advice. I am giong to try it out when I get my next critique back.


PJ Hoover said...

Miriam, you are so right. I am always amazed at how much more sense lots of the suggestions make after a while.

Good luck with your next revision, Jodi!