Sunday, 21 February 2010

Feedback and the Florentine Bag

One Easter when I was a student I went to Florence. I saw the sights but most importantly I wanted to buy a bag, as I knew Florence was famous for its leather. Most of the bags were too expensive for my student budget but finally, down a back street, I found it. White leather, softly gleaming leather, stylish. My bag.

I loved that bag and wore it every day, everywhere. Back up at university I proudly showed it to my best friend. 'But it's plastic,' she said.

I looked. It was plastic.

I never wore that bag again, now I'd seen that the soft gleam was actually the harsh glint of plastic. Reality ruined it for me. Writing can be like that. You write something you think is beautiful and are then destroyed when feedback suggests otherwise. It's why feedback is so essential to writers if they want to be published. You must know how it's coming across to someone else.

But on the other hand, if you've no ambitions to be published and are truly writing for yourself, don't go looking for feedback. You may not be any happier for knowing it's plastic.

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