On Saturday, Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley hosted First Impressions: A First Page and Query Event. We had reached max capacity for critiques, but were able to accept a few listening registrations for those that still wanted to learn from the pages of others.
“What To Do”… with Critique Feedback
I was listening to Pandora and Ok Go’s “What To Do?” came on, and it reminded me of when the album first came out and I had made a cassette (cassette!) to bring to work at the pharmacy the summer after I started college.
In the song, there’s a line, “mediocre people do exceptional things all the time,” and I had taken it as a positive thing. As in, you don’t have to be born exceptional to do something exceptional. (And who is truly exceptional when they’re born anyway? Most of us are content to shit our pants and stare at things that circle above our heads.)
But my coworker told me it was an awful thing to say, and an awful song. And I wondered, did she feel mediocre, and that’s why the line hit her a different way?
So where’s the take away to this story? Perhaps it’s just that the first response is always an emotional response – whether it’s reading editorial feedback or listening to a song or watching a movie. It’s not till you’ve had some time, (or have heard the song hundreds and hundreds of times) before you can analyze without the emotion. So read your critiques, give it some time, and then read it again.
I’ll bet you get something different out of it the second time you read.