We can all agree on one thing: criticism pricks and when you are in the creative field, it’s worse because it hurts to know that something you created with all your heart and soul was not appreciated.
Criticism is part and parcel of a writer’s life. Whether it’s receiving a bad review for your new book or having a client reject your article – it is tough to not let criticism affect your work. But as they say, the show must go on.
People are entitled to their opinion and you cannot expect to be showered with love and praise every time you put your work out there.
So, as a writer, how do you NOT take criticism personally? How do you NOT feel insulted and NOT let it sabotage your motivation?
Here are 5 ways writers can deal with criticism effectively:
- Detach from your Work
Get this straight – you are NOT your work. Just because someone did not like your piece of writing does not mean they are taking a jibe at you because negative feedback and criticism are not a reflection of you as a person.
Yes, you may wonder how you can possibly detach yourself from your writing after having poured so much into your stories and characters, but in order to thrive as a writer, it is imperative to adopt this approach. You are WAY beyond your work, so don’t let any sort of criticism let you believe any less of yourself.
2. Don’t get Defensive
You come across one piece of negative feedback and there goes your day – you cannot stop thinking about it, you oscillate between questioning your ability and wanting to defend yourself, telling them why their opinion is incorrect.
First, sit back and think about it objectively – do you think getting defensive will get you anywhere? Not one bit.
Instead of getting defensive, choose to overlook it or gracefully acknowledge the critique for sharing his/her thoughts and walk away. Curb your temptation to write back and express your anger because that reflects poorly on you and does nothing to change their opinion.
3. Take the Learnings
Social media has given everyone a voice. While that’s a good thing, there is a flip side to it too, which is that along with the usual criticism you receive, you will also have to deal with the mean haters and trolls who want to break your spirit.
What you should focus on is the constructive criticism, which is essential to help you learn and grow as a writer. Such criticism is directed toward helping you, so take it in the positive light. If you have concerns, ask the critique editor further questions to understand better. After all, the ultimate goal is to recognize your shortcomings and work on them.
So, learn to separate the constructive criticism from the unnecessary hate, which is best ignored.
4. Talk to Someone
There will be bad days when you will be drowning in negativity. At such times, when you feel none of the self-talk is helping and is only making you feel worse, reach out to a trusted confidante like a family member, a friend or even a fellow writer.
Talk to them about what you are experiencing and vent your feelings and frustrations before it takes a toll on your mental health. Sometimes, all we need is a little reassurance from an external source to make us believe that one bad experience is not the end of the world.
5. Move On
So, you put your work out there – some liked it, the others didn’t. Do you choose to get stuck on the criticism, or would you rather accept it, rise beyond and move on?
Life goes on and so must you.
Have enough confidence in your craft and capabilities to not let negative opinions bring you down. You cannot control what other people have to say about your work.
What you can control is your reaction, so choose it wisely.