Put anything you create out into the great wild world and you’ll be guaranteed to get some criticism back. If you’re lucky it will be of the useful “constructive” variety, but it’s likely some of it won’t be. No-one’s writing is ever universally liked or without the potential to offend. But even though it comes with the territory, you’ll still feel pretty crap when your work is criticized. No-one likes to be told they’re wrong especially via something we’ve put our heart and soul into creating. So how do you deal with it?
1) Learn from it
This is often held up as the ideal way to cope with criticism. This doesn’t mean what you’ve written is completely rubbish. But even with a ton of editing, Beta reading, and proofreading, you won’t have written the perfect book. Feedback from whatever source, can help you grow as a writer. It helps if it’s delivered in a “constructive” fashion of course, but sometimes we have to see the value from blunter comments. Outright offensive ones, however, can go fudge themselves.
2) Remember, it’s an opinion NOT fact
Professional critics (usually) explain the informed reasoning behind their thoughts about a piece of art. They highlight connections between other works, history, culture etc. But at the end of the day, their take on any piece of work is still their opinion – as are all critiques. People can argue all they like about ‘taste’ but most things are subjective. The caveat with this advice, however, is that if a lot of people are highlighting something particular about your work they weren’t keen on, there may be something to learn there.
3) Think about what you’ve achieved
See that book there? You did that. There’s plenty of people out there who talk about the book they’re going to write who will never actually get down to it. But you did. Rather than get fixated on the fact not everyone liked a thing you did, allow yourself to be proud of the fact you did it. It takes effort and time. And sharing it with others takes a shed load of guts. So well done.
4) Work on something else
If you haven’t already started to write something else, now is the time. Distract yourself from the criticism of your current work by beginning afresh. Being proactive can lift up your mood. And if you did get any of that good “constructive” feedback, you can start putting it into practice.
Do you have any advice on dealing with criticism? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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