Ignore your writing feedback

Ignore your writing feedback

Both positive and negative!

I recently wrote about how to avoid getting fleeced by these "paid feedback" services. For the most part, they are scams. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that 99 percent of all feedback - both positive and negative - is bad for you.

The 1 percent exception is the bits of feedback that you will occasionally receive which will, like, literally change your life. I remember each and every one of these that I've ever gotten. I get one maybe every five years. You won't necessarily recognize it at the time, but you should take these to heart.
 
As for the rest: it's garbage. And yet we crave it, don't we? The thing you have to understand is that it's a lot like your craving for junk food. It seems so real, but it's very bad for you.
 
Negative feedback is obviously bad for you as a writer. I can't say it any more succinctly than "Haters gonna hate." The internet is a river of negative feedback, on everything, for every reason, 24/7, 365 days a year. Whether it's a comment on Reddit or a comment on YouTube or a comment on your blog, negative feedback serves no useful purpose. 
 
Allowing yourself to be used as a punching bag for random strangers and idiots is obviously detrimental to your growth as a writer. I know it's hard to ignore the bad feedback, but you should.
 
This even includes the "stealth negs." Like if someone says "I really liked the stuff you used to write better," or "This would be a great story if you set it on Mars instead of in a Manhattan office." This is the well-intentioned feedback, and it's just as bad as the mean stuff. It boils down to the same thing, too, which is "I didn't like it." But the thing is, people rarely understand why they don't like things. Or sometimes they think "I would have done it differently, like this…." But you should ignore them, because they are not you (and vice versa).
 
Positive feedback is almost as bad. It stunts your growth, because positive feedback means that you're in the Safe Zone. As long as you're getting positive feedback, you won't be pushing yourself farther. The hard truth is, if you want to get better (and you do - we all do) then you have to learn to set aside positive feedback just as much as negative feedback. Maybe more so!