Author, Critique, Editing, Fiction, Group, Novel, Revision, Writing

Post-critique syndrome

Everyone has a syndrome or disorder nowadays so I feel no shame in revealing mine. I have post-critique syndrome.

It happens every time. Even if most of the feedback on my submission is favorable, something—one teeny little comment—sets off the outbreak. On a bad day, I tell myself to face the fact I can’t write anything worth reading, need to delete these Word files and get back to Realworld. On a good day, I admit the problems cited were things I suspected myself, but didn’t want to deal with—well, actually Ms. Perfect smacks me and says, “I told you so!” Or maybe I hadn’t seen the problem before, but I do now, and accept that it just means more work ahead of me.

I know I’m too close to the writing to see these problems myself. I know my book can only improve when I make these corrections. I know I’m not alone in these self-doubts. I can’t remember reading a single interview of a successful author who didn’t admit they have doubts about their writing. That’s both encouraging and discouraging; it means this insecurity is normal—but it also means this insecurity will never end.

So, today I sit here going over the comments on my last submission, weighing each, deciding whether to implement suggested changes and, if so, how and where, and inside I’m laughing at myself who, as a novice writer, wondered how on earth it could take two or three or more years to write a novel.

16 thoughts on “Post-critique syndrome”

  1. Hi Linda,

    I get that post-critique hangover fuzz too. In workshop, I’m eating up the comments, so grateful that everyone’s eyesight is sharper than mine when looking at the manuscript. They see things I didn’t know existed.

    But then I get home and wonder, now what? How exactly, am I supposed to pull this off? It’s always a challenge to know what to incorporate, what to ignore, and what to let boil in the back of my brain.

    But hey, we gotta give ourselves props for at least trying!



    1. Oh, yes, always trying … and improving. I love it when some feedback comment sparks my imagination and my edit or revision produces something so much better than what I had originally written. Those gems are worth the dread of critique.


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