The inspiration for today's post comes from the day job, in fact. We had a professional development day yesterday, most of which wouldn't interest any of you. During a presentation on critical thinking skills, though, came a moment of epiphany ... and it wasn't while my colleagues and I were trying to build a tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks.
Our presenter includes some quotations on a few of her slides, and one particularly caught my attention:
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
In addition to the implications for educating my little rabblerousers, it struck me as a nice summation of my philosophy on accepting critique. You have to be able to entertain a thought, even unpleasant ones, without (necessarily) accepting it. Once you entertain it, you can make that decision whether it has merit you should act on or not.
This is especially applicable to me recently, as three of my four fulls came back with rejections. One was a form rejection, so there's nothing for me to take from it. Another was a detailed message that felt like the agent just didn't get it--we all view things through our own lens, and hers seems to be polarized at a right angle to mine. The third was a brief but personal message that raised an interesting question.
It's that last one that has me thinking the most. Perhaps I'll expound on it in another post. My book doesn't follow a certain part of the YA sci-fi/fantasy formula. I know that, and in many ways it was my whole point. So I'm trying to entertain the thought planted by that agent without accepting it, at the same time looking for what I can take from it.
Meanwhile, I'm forging ahead--working on Book Three, receiving good news on another front (see if you can spot it in my Twitter feed, post forthcoming), and wondering if I'm ever going to hear back from Agent #1.
Oh, and keeping up with the day job.