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How to take advice

Two authors are out to lunch, one new the other well established. The New Author asks the other for advice. They tell them get a good editor, get some beta readers until their book is the best it can be. The New Author gets upset. This is the wrong way to take advice. I rushed my first books. I didn't get them edited like they should and even my later books still need work. I look back at them and I get itchy fingers to redo them. I just never have the time and I acknowledge that I'll probably unpublish them one day and count it as a learning curve.

Today I got some advice, feedback on my favourite book I've written. I haven't looked at it yet and there is a reason. The first is that it is my baby and it hurts when the flaws are pointed out but the main reason is that I had a long week, long meetings, kids talking back and I'm grumpy. Never ever read feedback or advice from someone when you are grumpy. This is because you become defensive and all of a sudden you start to entrench the mistakes you have made instead of growing.

I'll wait until I'm in a lovely relaxed mood. A nice cool drink near by. All my chores completed and then I'll look at the feedback. Whoever gives me feedback don't be offended that I need to take my time to look at any feedback. The reason why I do this is because when I'm all zen the advice becomes "Oh that is a good idea. Well, I never thought of that." That way I can grow and be a better author than I was before.

This trick can work for many advice given. When someone gives you advice nod and go 'sure' and forget for the moment. Stick it in the back of your mind. If you dwell on it you'll just get grumpy and mad at the person who dared to point out your flaws. You are embarrassed and you will go all ten feet thick walls of the castle on them. Instead, a week or two later when you are sitting on the deck watching the sun set then bring out their advice. See which bits work for you and tweak it to fit. All advice should be taken with a tweak. That way you own it and you'll more likely do something about it. Never do exactly what people advise you to do. You'll just get grumpy doing it as it is duty instead of a good idea.

To whoever gave me feedback or advice thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You want my book to be the best it can be. You want me to succeed. That is the best compliment I'll ever receive.

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