Monday, July 01, 2013

Coping with cranky critics

From time to time, I am reminded that criticism can be a touchy issue for many people, especially writers.  Writers everywhere share something in common -- dealing with naysayers.  Feeling hurt because a critic cut your masterpiece to shreds? You're not alone. Criticism and bruised egos are inherent in publishing, communications, and life.

Here are some tips on how to cope with critics.
  • It’s natural to feel hurt about criticism, but don’t drown yourself in pity. Get over it.
  • All critics are not alike. Some are just plain cranky while others consider themselves experts. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into people who offer you constructive comments – objective opinions that can help you improve your work.
  • Understand that some critics will attack anyone or anything just to draw attention to themselves – to make themselves feel superior. Don’t take the remarks personally. Shake them off.
  • Separate the critic from the criticism. Commit this rule to memory!  Realize that any criticism may carry a little bit of truth. Be open to the fact that your work could use some fine-tuning, but never allow criticism to dampen your self-confidence.
  • Don’t dwell so much on criticism that you allow it to drain your energy and motivation. Deal with it, and then move on.
  • Understand that ALL writers have their critics. You don’t have to like it, but don’t let it overwhelm you.
Bottom Line: It’s a sure bet that the more you achieve, the more attention you’ll attract from critics. If you learn to handle criticism in a calm and positive spirit, you’ll definitely grow as a person and a writer.

A version of this post first appeared in 2006.

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