Written by Samantha A House
The writing world (just like any other) houses people who won’t like your work, and that’s okay: your cup of tea isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, though, people who don’t like your work feel compelled to tell you, and they do so in a manner that can hurt. It’s not especially kind or welcome, but it happens. Here are some tips to cope with that kind of criticism.
- Understand that it’s an opinion: You can choose to listen if you desire, but don’t let someone else’s thoughts sway your belief in your work. It’s a piece of you: believe in it like you would believe in yourself.
- Don’t make yourself an easy target: Ensure that your writing has no spelling or grammatical errors. It seems basic, but mistakes can easily be missed, especially when you’ve already read through the same piece a few times. One way I get around this is by reading my work aloud to myself. Some people get their computer to read it to them, but either way, it’s a simple practice which goes a long way in picking up small mistakes.
- Know your topic: Don’t give people the chance to say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” If you have something to write, write it, but be as well-informed as you possibly can be before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
- Beware the green-eyed monster: Sometimes people criticise, because they are jealous of your work. Envy isn’t the prettiest emotion, but such is life for we humans. Understanding this truth can help to reframe criticism, putting it into a more positive light.
- Don’t look: If all else fails, just don’t read the criticism. I know: it’s impossible to unread mean-spirited comments once read, but keep this tip in mind for the future. The moment you sense comments going down that negative road, stop reading. Do something to distract yourself, and ignore it.
In my experience, these tips come in handiest when it comes to book reviews. Amazon’s algorithms, for example, are based on reviews: the more you have, the more Amazon will recommend your book to customers. Consequently, authors tend to pursue reviews like rabid animals.
A year or two ago, an author was leaving reviews on Amazon to help increase the profile of another’s work, but unfortunately, they did so by leaving one-star reviews and tearing the books down. From what I could see, none of the authors were phased by the criticism, and they continued to write and publish books. Thankfully, I only found out about it through speaking with another reviewer who was horrified by it all.
Criticism can be a difficult pill to swallow, but if you take pride in your work, don’t let someone else’s bad day tear you down. I won’t lie and say it isn’t painful, but what I can tell you is that having someone connect with your writing is one of the greatest gifts in the world – for you and your reader. Don’t deny them that present.
If you guys have any tips to cope with criticism, let me know! The more methods we have in our repertoire the better.
Hope you all have an awesome and creative day. 😊