Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How do You Handle Criticism?

It happens to all of us, someone says something critical and we feel hurt. But as an author, how do you handle criticism? Perhaps it depends on what kind of criticism it is. Constructive criticism that has your best interests at heart can be used to improve your writing.

But when friends or family deliberately mock or pour scorn on your writing for no apparent reason, you have to do something about it, otherwise you may end up crawling under the bed and staying there. Or worse still, giving up your writing.

Don't let people who know nothing about writing tell you your latest writing effort is no good. Some writers would simply tell them where to go in no uncertain terms, but others may cringe and feel upset for days. Some authors become so upset that they give up writing. If you are the kind of person who cannot handle confrontation there are things you can do to prevent the hurt of family scorn.

For a start, make sure your family do not see your work, even if this means rearranging the computer desk so that they cannot look over your shoulder. If they do see and criticize, ask yourself if they are just jealous of the time you spend in writing. Family do have  a right to your time and attention, so make sure your life is balanced to include them. Don't let them feel that they have to compete with your writing for attention.

But don't give them all your time - unless, of course they are babies who need lots of time and attention. You do have a right to some time of your own.

It certainly helps if you can develop a thick skin with regard to negative criticism - after all, if you are writing a book you may get lots of rejections from publishers and that too, will hurt until you learn that it is not meant personally.

Even if you are a person who dreads confrontation, you can practice - while you are alone - saying something quite calmly to the person who criticizes you. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do you work hard to be so negative or does it come naturally?
  • What were your grades in English again?
  • Would you know whether it was good or bad?
  • Are you having a bad day, or just trying to make me have one?
  • Thank you for being so negative.
  • Practice saying something good, you will enjoy life more.
  • Did you take your liver pills this morning?
  • Go jump in the lake darling.
  • If you have nothing better to do, perhaps you could wash up/do the laundry/whatever it is that needs doing.
If you can think of any more good responses, write them in the comments box below. ( no swearing, ok?)

till later dudes,

Zack