Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Praise of Praise

The lovely Julie Kibler over at What Women Write has a fantastic post today about The Other Kind of Critique. In other words, praise.

Her point, and a great one at that, is how we get so focused on tough critiques to improve our work, that we sometimes forget to embrace the compliments we get as well. At the end of her post, she challenged us to post something about praise we've received. (Go read the whole post here.)

Rejections on partials and fulls can be tough to take, but sometimes a few words in a rejection can offer that little bit of solace, that push to keep going. Sure, maybe its a line, a form letter. But sometimes it isn't. And we should take some joy in that.

I went back through some of my rejections and pulled out some personal feedback:
  • I love your writing, and the setting and believe you have a great deal of promise.
  • I think you are a lovely writer.
  • You have a fantastic manuscript; the details of the house and the intrigue are all fascinating – and it’s well written
  • The writing is really hard to fault
  • Your writing is confident and commercial 
Granted, none of these got me an offer of representation. But they did make me believe it could happen in the future. And sometimes, that's all we need.

So think about the praise you've received, no matter how big or how small, and let it sink in. Let it wash over you and fill you with warmth and hope. And share your good news, the praise you've received, because happiness grows with sharing.


  1. It is funny how we accept the criticism so much easier than the praise..

    The Arrival, on Amazon now.

  2. This is a really good point - and also the fact that an agent went out of their way to specifically say that means a lot.

  3. Hmmm...I seem to have the opposite problem of most writers. I repeat the praise over and over in my head and fight the criticism.

    Okay, kidding. I crave them both. I can never get enough of one or the other it seems. Oh, validation how you TAUNT ME!!

  4. Wow, putting all those comments together could give you a great idea of what you're doing right. I may go back through some old rejections on my previous manuscript and do that to see if I can glean a better sense of what worked. I mostly looked at them individually.

    Thanks for the link, and also thanks for taking up the challenge!

  5. super point, Jenna! We do have to keep the praise to keep the motivation up. And if you're getting personalized feedback like that, it's a great sign. All the best~ :o) <3