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Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Deal with Criticism

Through all of my beta reading and editing and help I have been getting and giving lately, I have noticed that some people really don't take criticism well. It's a hard thing to deal with. Your book is your original work-letting someone read it makes you feel vulnerable. When someone says something negative, you take it personally. It's hard not to! I get it, completely.

However, constructive criticism is so helpful! It helps your work grow and get better. It also helps you as a writer grow. You see what people like and what they don't. I think there are many ways to embrace criticism.

LISTEN! This is huge and the most important thing. Whether the person is wrong or right in their ciritsm- listen to what they have to say. It is their opinion. Someone else out there is going to feel the same. Maybe what they're saying is true. You can either change it or not. Either way, you're aware of it now.

DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY! Now this is a hard one. Your book is you. It's your personal work. Don't take it personally. Remove yourself completely from the situation. Don't think of all the time you spent on chapter one which people think should be removed. Take yourself out. This will help you understand the other persons point of view.

BREATHE! Before changing anything in your work, take a moment to breathe. Taking this moment and stepping away will allow you to clear your head and de-stress. You don't want to start editing your book when you're upset. Step away from it for as much time as you need before going back in. When you come back, their criticism won't seem as harsh.

MOVE ON! Figure out whether you are going to use the criticism or not. A big factor in changing your work or not is thinking about whether this is repeat advice or not. If you've heard you have too many run ons five times from five different people, that says a lot. Ask for more advice from other people. Go with your gut! If you really have a feeling you shouldn't change it then don't. It's your piece after all and you can do what you want!

I think the main advice I give you guys about dealing with criticism is to embrace it and go into it with an open mind. They aren't saying things to hurt you. You can only grow from what people critique you on. Take it all in. In the end, it is your work and you can do whatever you want. Just remember, remove your feelings!


  1. Nice post Taylor. Lots of good stuff there. Being on the receiving end of criticism is something every writer has to face sooner or later, at least if they want people to read their work. Good stuff.

    1. Definitely. I think criticism is just a part of life and we need to deal with it.

  2. When I first started writing fiction, I received some criticism that I didn't wan to hear or believe. I was smug about it and said that those things were part of my "unique voice" and thought that the readers simply didn't understand my artistic vision...or something along those lines.

    My advice is to Take. Your. Time.

    There is no rush to get the book 'out there' and the longer that you don't, the better it will ultimately be. Every day when I wake up, I am torn between working on something new or going back and re-editing something that has been in print (but poorly edited and reviewed), and that haunts me, mocking me with errors and mistakes and bad habits that have since been broken.

    Good piece, Taylor. Especially the part about taking your feelings out of the equation. Because if you don't, or can't, then you aren't going to make it anyways. Writing the novel is only about 1/100th of the battle.

    1. I agree. When I finished my book I wanted to publish it right away. I was convinced not to and am so happy. My book has changed so much through editing. Take your time is great advice!


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