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Author In Progress by Writer Unboxed Writer Unboxed, Therese Walsh

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The Psychology of Critique

Resist the Natural Impulse to Shut Down

Therese Walsh

You’ve spent months, even years, working on your book. You give it to a candid beta reader with all the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a child showing a parent a piece of macaroni art. You hope to receive a treasure trove of golden praise, but what you get—more often than not—is advice that encourages you to try a new tact; to work harder on that character, arc, or another element of the story; to try, try again.

Listen: There’s no shame in wanting the gold. We all desire approval of our work on some level, even if we tell ourselves we know a story isn’t entirely ready. But even when you know you might not get gold, some part of you still hopes for silver or at least bronze. ...

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