Handling Negative Editorial Feedback as a Freelancer

Handling Negative Editorial Feedback as a Freelancer

Rejection and feedback are two things that all freelance writers have to face at some point in their careers. And they both suck!

Whether it's a rejection from a potential editor or a negative response of your work, after getting an assignment, it can be tough to handle and even tougher to shake off. But as a freelance writer, it's important to have a healthy attitude towards rejection and feedback, and to use it as a tool to help you grow and improve your craft. 

On my latest assignment, my first draft was rejected and the editor mentioned that we might just have to kill the article. Below, I identified some tried and true tips for handling rejection and feedback like a pro, so you can get back to what you do best - writing!

Understanding why rejection and feedback are a normal part of the process

As a freelance writer, it's important to understand that rejection and feedback are just a part of the process. They're not personal attacks on you or your writing ability, but rather a natural and necessary step in the journey of improving your craft. Just like anything else worth pursuing, becoming a successful freelance writer requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to put yourself out there and face rejection and feedback.

How to manage your emotional response to rejection

Rejection can be tough to handle, especially for writers who have invested a lot of time and effort into their work. It can be tempting to take it personally and let your emotions get the best of you, but it's important to manage your emotional response to rejection in a healthy and productive way.

Here are some tips that can help you manage your emotional response to rejection:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings: It's okay to feel upset, angry, or frustrated when you receive rejection. Allow yourself to experience these emotions, but don't dwell on them.

  2. Take a break: Give yourself time to process your emotions and let them pass. Take a walk, exercise, meditate, or do something else you enjoy to clear your mind.

  3. Reframe the rejection: Instead of thinking of rejection as a failure, try to reframe it as a learning experience or an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself what you can learn from the rejection and how you can use it to improve your writing.

  4. Talk to someone: Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend or mentor can help you process your emotions and provide a fresh perspective.

  5. Keep things in perspective: Remind yourself that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a person or a writer. You are more than your writing, and rejection does not define you.

Using feedback constructively to improve your writing

Feedback is an invaluable tool for improving your writing, but it's important to use it constructively. Whether you receive feedback from a editor, or peer, the key to making the most of it is to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Here are some tips for using feedback constructively to improve your writing:

  1. Listen actively: When receiving feedback, listen carefully and try to understand the perspective of the person giving it. Ask questions and clarify any points that are unclear to you.

  2. Separate the feedback from the source: Try not to take feedback personally. Instead, focus on the content of the feedback and the suggestions being made.

  3. Be objective: Assess the feedback objectively, and consider whether the suggestions being made will actually help you improve your writing.

  4. Keep what works: If the feedback is useful and relevant, incorporate it into your writing process. If not, don't feel obliged to follow it.

  5. Follow up: If you're not sure how to implement the feedback, reach out to the person who gave it and ask for clarification. This can help you get a better understanding of their perspective and improve your writing accordingly.

Here are some tips for dealing with negative reviews and criticism:

  1. Take a step back: Before responding to negative feedback, give yourself some time to process your emotions. Don't react immediately, as this can lead to a negative or unprofessional response.

  2. Assess the feedback objectively: Once you've had some time to reflect, try to assess the feedback objectively. Consider whether the criticism is valid and if there are any areas where you can improve.

  3. Respond professionally: If you need to respond to the criticism, do so in a professional and constructive manner. Acknowledge the feedback, apologize if necessary, and offer a solution or plan of action to address the issue.

  4. Learn from the experience: Use the negative feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow as a writer. Ask yourself what you can do differently next time to avoid similar issues in the future.

  5. Move on: Once you've dealt with the negative feedback, try to let it go and move on. Focusing too much on negative reviews and criticism can be detrimental to your mental health and productivity.

The importance of separating your personal self-worth from your writing

As a freelance writer, it can be easy to become emotionally attached to your work and to view rejection or negative feedback as a personal attack on your self-worth. However, it's important to understand that your writing is separate from your personal identity and that rejection or criticism of your work doesn't reflect on your worth as a person.

Here are some tips for separating your personal self-worth from your writing:

  1. Reframe your mindset: Instead of viewing rejection or criticism as a personal failure, try to reframe it as a normal part of the writing process. Remember that rejection or criticism is not a reflection of your worth as a person, but simply a response to your work.

  2. Set realistic expectations: Be realistic about the challenges and obstacles that come with writing, and don't expect perfection from yourself or your work. Accept that rejection and criticism are a normal part of the process and that success as a writer takes time and effort.

  3. Focus on the process: Rather than fixating on the outcome of your work, focus on the process of writing. Enjoy the creative process and the challenges it presents, and don't let rejection or criticism diminish your love for writing.

  4. Seek validation from sources outside of writing: Look for validation and fulfillment from sources outside of your writing, such as relationships, hobbies, and personal accomplishments. This will help you build a strong sense of self-worth that is not dependent on your writing.


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