Learning how to approach and navigate the feedback process is so critical to being a writer I cannot overstate the case. You may be the most talented author in the world but if you cannot hear what others are saying about your work then you are writing blind. As an example of how emotionally charged the feedback process can be, some of you reading this post are already having a hard time hearing what I’m saying because you think I’m suggesting some sort of implicit collaboration between author and reader. Worse, some of you may think I’m advocating creative capitulation, in which authors pander to their audience or limit their own literary intentions and aspirations for the sake of more reliable communication.
To be clear, learning how to give and take feedback has nothing to do with giving the audience control of your work. If you want to write for a particular market that’s your business and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you like writing mysteries, you know you’re going to have to have a body show up sooner or later — and preferably sooner. On the other hand, if what you want to write is almost pure experimentation, for which there may be, at most, a world-wide audience of ten people, then by all means go for it.
What I am talking about here is the inescapable fact that feedback from others is the only way you can reliably know whether you are or are not on course toward your creative objective, regardless what that objective is. Authors listen to feedback for the same reason that sailors listen to fog horns. The problem for authors, however, is that you have to figure out which fog horns are telling the truth.
— Mark Barrett