It’s not an easy thing to admit. Sensitive writers like me spend years learning how to divorce themselves from the content we create, look at it objectively and take feedback in stride. Client satisfaction depends on developing a thicker skin—or at least pretending to.
The irony is that it’s our very sensitivity that makes us good writers. It takes a finely tuned antenna to arrange 26 letters over and over again in exciting new ways. We see more patterns. We absorb deeper meaning. We’re 100 pages ahead in a story no one else has been able to tell yet.
Naturally, we want to nail it. We want the client to love what we come up with. Stick it on the fridge. Not ball it up. Not shoot it in the bin.
Sometimes, the bin it is.
When my work hits the bin, I know what to do. Talk with the client. Ask questions. Listen. Agree on the next direction. Begin again with an open mind. I couldn’t always navigate these conversations without steeling myself with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, but now I can.
That doesn’t mean feedback never smarts or that the oh-so-comforting Cherry Garcia never calls my name.
That’s why I really appreciate clients who know copywriters tend to be sensitive and try to take it easy on us. The effort is all.
- Consider giving feedback in a neutral way: “Let’s regroup.” Instead of a negative way: “You missed the mark.”
- Try approaching the conversation as a partner and helper versus a judge or adversary, even if the situation is stressing you out.
- Let the writer know you’re in it together. Let fly the royal “we.”
It will pay off tenfold in content quality, speed, and ease.
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