How to Deal with Criticism: The Hard Part in Writing

How to Deal with Criticism: The Hard Part in Writing

It’s completely normal to fear that. After all, you’ve spent A LONG time with this story. It can be very personal to you, it can be the story of your life, and, most likely, it’s one of the themes that you love the most ever.

Of course, being criticized is mortifying. Especially by Internet haters that have no respect whatsoever for anyone. They will hate on you without fear since they are anonymous.

It’s also very sad to see your friends and family bashing you since you care a lot for them and their opinion.

I know of people that GAVE UP writing for this fear of exposition.

So, today, I wanted to put together some tips and actual things you can do to change this. This list won’t be simply: ooh, ignore it and move on! Or keep writing despite everything. This list is here to help you to analize the criticism, decide for the best, and let it go.


1. Analyze what the person is saying and why the person is saying that

2. People often don’t want to plain hurt us. They often speak their minds

3. What of the criticism applies to you personally? What can you actually use?

4. Therapy and mental health


1. Analyze what the person is saying and why the person is saying that

Who is criticizing you?

Is this a personal matter?

Is this person a friend of yours?

Sometimes, people are not mean out of NOwhere. Sometimes, people REALLY mean to help or are simply too honest.

Is it a beta reader of yours? What is the person saying and WHY is the person saying that?

I don’t want to say that HATE itself is good. But, sometimes, critics are. The person really might be concerned about that aspect of your book. You’re not perfect, none of us are.

So, really listen to it, even though you don’t want. Listen and look at it coldly: does this make sense?

If they are simply saying: go die, you suck; don’t listen. However, if they are saying: I don’t like how Carl betrayals Carol in chapter 19. It turned me off, therefore I didn’t like it at all… maybe they are right. MAYBE.


2.  People often don’t want to plain hurt us. They often speak their minds

We think of the world as this horrible mean place. And it really is, sometimes. But, let me say that, most of the people are not mean. And I worked in retail, so don’t tell me the opposite. The majority of the guests are polite. Same goes to your readers. They majority of them are polite and they really want to help. Some people simply don’t know how to say things without hurting others. But their ultimate goal is not to attack or hurt you.

As I said, there is a difference between hate itself (die in hell, you are worthless) and bad criticism (your prose level is not that good to me).

So, try to separate your feelings from the situation and listen to it. Like I said above: why is this person telling me that?

Maybe it’s their personality. You can find something hilarious and someone else can say: this is not funny at all and bored me to death.

Maybe it’s a personal problem with you: Okay, son, this book is cool, but when will you get a real job?

Sometimes, they can be right.

So, listen to it, and ask yourself: where is this coming from?


3. Use what is good and discard the rest

Okay, now you’ve listened to it and realized why the person is telling you that.

You can listen to what you think makes sense and ignore the rest.

I won’t tell you to plain ignore it. Sometimes, the person can be right, even if you got hurt by the criticism.

However, it doesn’t mean that you have to change everything because one person said.

If you change your book because of ONE critic, it won’t be your book. It will be the person’s opinion book.

If they want, they can write their book the way they like. However, yours is yours. You don’t have to change anything if you don’t want to.

There are people out there that simply DON’T like the same things that you do, so NO MATTER WHAT, they won’t like your content.

However, there are MANY people out there that like it, so it’s great.

Summarizing: don’t plain ignore the critic. See where and why the person is telling you that. Use what you think it’s good. Discard the rest. You don’t have to change because of the opinion of someone else. Some people will never like your style, will never think like you, and that’s okay. You don’t think like them as well.


4. Therapy

You might ask: aren’t you exagerating here? Send me to therapy because of a critic?

First, therapy can help you in every aspect of your life.

But, concerning critics, if you are not able to deal with it, there is no problem at all to look for help. Maybe you can’t deal with critics now because your mom used to criticize you a lot when you were little. Sometimes, the problem is much deeper than we think. Therefore, the only way you’ll get through it is with professional help.

If the critics and other people’s opinion hurt you so much you want to give up, look for help. No shame at all here.

If you can’t simply get what helps on the critic and discard the rest; if it makes you want to change your book entirely thanks to one person; if it has hurt you personally… THERAPY!

I’m very concerned about author’s mental health. We seem to be a bunch that needs a lot of help. I often see people beating themselves up so much that they want to never write again.

That’s why I wrote this article on mental health for writers if you want further help.

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3 years ago

I love your writing style, what a brilliant blog!

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