Have you ever been criticised? It’s not a nice feeling is it? Sometimes we should listen to criticism, no matter the pain, because we may grow from it. We might learn something from the critical person because they may actually have a valid point to make. However there are those people who criticise and actually don’t know what they are talking about. They are probably jealous of you and your talents and should be removed from your friends list at once.
Recently I sent a piece of writing to a website and it was rejected. That’s something we can all identify with, a writer is susceptible to somebody else’s opinion, whether we agree with them or not. In this case I didn’t agree with them, and when I spoke to a member of their staff on the online chat functionality for feedback I became more aggrieved by their attitude. Not only were they pompous but they constantly used bad grammar and spelling mistakes themselves! One such mistake was writing the word ‘were’ as ‘we’re. As in “you were supposed to…”, which became “you we’re supposed to….”. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? I decided to gracefully ignore the person’s mistakes and acted politely. The point is there are people who are critical of our writing who can’t actually write themselves!
We invest a lot of ourselves into our writing and we can be proud of the finished product, be that an article, blog post, or work of fiction. It is when we press ‘send’ to a publisher or site that we finally let go of what we have written and become vulnerable in the process. We await feedback nervously and possibly begin to become a little paranoid. Could we have done more to improve our work? Did we really need to get some sleep last night when the time could have been better spent writing another paragraph? We constantly hit refresh on our email account in anticipation of a response. When the response comes we nervously open the email (or letter) and begin to read. Will it be good news or bad news?
I hope you receive good news in your feedback. I hope you are showered with praise and offered a heap of money to continue writing. For the lucky few that can be the case. What if our writing isn’t accepted? What if we are asked to resubmit our beloved work by making it ‘better’? What if we don’t agree with the critic?
Firstly, do not take it personally. Do not write back to the critic with anger and abuse. Take time out to think and consider the criticism. Is it constructive? Are there any valid points to be taken from the criticism? If so thank the critic and return to your writing with humility and grace. However if you disagree with the critic be careful with your response. If they truly are mistaken and are being overly critical do not retaliate with words they probably don’t know the meaning of. Continue with an air of humility and thank them for their opinion. Provided the changes they request do not go against your natural instincts and pride as a writer, work solidly and resend your work. If they rejected you outright and you really don’t agree with them then perhaps send a kind email to defend your piece.
Persevere with your writing. Remember it isn’t you they are criticising, it’s your work. Do not let others ruin your day by comments that are truthful or worthless. Remember the good feedback you have received in the past. Consider the many successful things you have done. Be grateful for the criticism if it is useful. Seek a second opinion if you can, should you disagree with the critic. Then if you still disagree with them, move on! Go elsewhere.