Want to improve your writing? Let someone beat the brakes off your work

It’s no fun having your copy thrashed and throttled by a ruthless editor, but constructive feedback is essential for professional—and personal—growth.

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It’s OK; no one enjoys having his or her work shredded, altered, questioned or tinkered with. No one likes to feel unproductive, undercut or insulted. We instinctively protect our special word darlings with the ferocity of a mother bear.

Unfortunately, if you want to write for a living, you must develop elephant-thick skin. Writers should brace for a lifetime of confidence-depleting deleting.

In other words, you must be willing to let someone beat the brakes off you—editorially speaking.

If this sounds harsh, it is. It hurts seeing your words and sentences slashed and eliminated, as if they never existed at all. Who wouldn’t bristle at the thought of seeing the fruit of his or her creative toil vanish? Can you imagine a sculptor sending off his latest bust for “editing,” only to receive back an entirely different face?

A harsh edit can feel like the beautiful bust you spent long hours agonizing over just got face-swapped. However, improvement requires putting pride aside—and allowing more experienced hands to shape, sculpt, influence and enhance your piece.

Here are three simple (yet painful) ways to improve as a writer:

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