In March, I focused on submitting my writing for publication and applying for writing residencies, which was exciting but also anxiety-inducing. Although I received a rejection from Brevity for one of my pieces, I still have a few pending for review with them. Additionally, I started applying for writing residencies to polish my manuscript and make it submission-ready. A rejection letter from Brevity is pictured at the bottom of this page.
In my Grub Street Writing to Heal class, one of my classmates shared that she was a finalist for the Terry Tempest Williams Prize for Creative Nonfiction at the North American Review (YAY Esi!). I was excited because she's a brilliant writer,  and the world needs to see more of her writing. But,  her victory felt personal to me. As a part of my writing community, she’s given me feedback like, "I think this piece is publishing-ready." Without encouragement like this, I don't know if I would have had the courage to start putting more of my work out for publication. Seeing members of my community succeed gives me hope that I will too if I keep working.
This brings me to my topic for this month: feedback. My hot take is that it's overhyped.. When I entered graduate school at Harvard, we read an article called "Thank you for the feedback," which urged us to be hungry for feedback. However, this  led me straight into a toxic job where, after telling my boss that I was "always open to feedback," she gave me feedback that my shirt was too low cut and that "wearing my hair in a ponytail was not professional because it made it look like I just came from the gym." I went into the bathroom and cried, and then I quit that job less than three months later.
Getting good feedback requires knowing what we need and creating boundaries. If we ask the wrong people for feedback or are unclear about what feedback is useful for us, then feedback can be hurtful or even damaging. At 27, I had not been prepared to tell that boss, “I am looking for feedback that will level up my project management skills,” and so she unhelpfully gave me wildly inappropriate fashion advice. But at 32, in my writing I am able to be specific, I can articulate if I am looking for help with a scene, or with overall structure. In writing, unhelpful feedback can sound like "You won't make money off your book even if you sell it," or "I think you should change this to something that I would like more, which is this.” I still get these comments sometimes, but I get them less because I have a community that I respect, and to whom I am able to articulate the specific feedback I am looking for.

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