On this 166th day of making things, today’s prompt recommends that I “get medieval” by making a piece or suit of armor—for me, an animal, or anything that needs protection.
Immediately, my thoughts went to the inexperienced writer about to receive feedback from a skilled reviewer. Should the writer suit up in heavy armor?
Exposure to criticism—whether positive, negative, or neutral—calls for bravery.
The mere act of writing leaves many writers feeling naked. Exposing those words to a reader, then, may feel like stepping out the front door undressed. In creative forms like poetry and memoir, our words reveal parts of ourselves that might otherwise stay covered. And even business writing makes us vulnerable. We put our ideas and our selves on the page, hoping for a positive reception.
The risk is worthy. Shared writing can lead to enlightenment and growth on both sides of the message. The reader may learn a new idea or appreciate a different perspective. The writer may discover alternative angles and even gain conviction.
So, if armor gives the writer confidence to engage in this exchange, I say go for it.
But let’s use flexible, breathable chain mail, not stiff, impenetrable plate armor.
- Show your form. Hidden and constrained by a rigid coat of armor, one writer looks like all the others. Dare to flex your writing muscles and reveal your strengths, whether they lie in organization, vocabulary, insight, or emotion.
- Stay nimble. Don’t steel yourself so heavily that you miss productive suggestions. Sharp reviewers may offer feedback that strengthens the work in progress and informs your writing for years to come.
- Gain strength. A skilled editor may inflict a few wounds to your ego; but those lacerations will heal and may even become your marks of distinction … the way a scar becomes integral to a person’s facial expression.
An honest review need not leave the writer pierced or burnt or otherwise injured. Let’s choose the right gear and dress for success.