>I have been very fortunate to have received criticism from some excellent writers who have improved my technique exponentially. A repeated comment from them to my expressions of gratitude is that I always listen to their suggestions and try to grasp how they can raise my skills. This has always struck me as an odd remark. I go to the doctor for medical advice. The final decision is always mine but I would be a fool to ignore his observations. Yet I have it on good authority that most wannabe writers flatly refuse to listen to professional advice. They explain why the professional is wrong in his opinion, why their masterpiece is perfect in every way and is unalterable and incapable of improvement. In short, they do not want criticism but praise.
To improve as a writer, one must be able to accept and digest constructive criticism. By that, I do not mean the drivel pumped out by critics. Most critics are not writers and simply promote their own prejudices. They would be writers if they were any good.
I mean criticism by people with a proven track record. People who have been there, done that, and have the holiday snaps to prove it. I guess one reason that I am open to advice is because I have spent most of my life as a professional academic. A science research paper is circulated to colleagues for criticism before it even leaves the Department. Only after it is edited in the light of their comments is it sent to a Journal. There an editor reads it and may bounce it straight back with an instruction to rewrite. Once it passes the editorial filter it is sent out to at least two referees who have track records in the field. They criticise the paper and make recommendation, which can include ‘Reject’. The Journal editor digests these and returns the whole lot to the author with an instruction to make changes, assuming it is not rejected. This loop may be repeated two or even three times.
All being well, publication follows.
So my advice to new writers is try to get professional criticism of your work, read the comments carefully, and then rewrite. Repeat as many times as is necessary.