Wordy Wednesday – Accepting Criticism

“Writers need to be willing to accept criticism,” they said. “Writers need thick skin,” they said.

Thick skin? That’s all? A coat of armor would be a nice addition, if you ask me.

I’ve always been a sensitive girl. I still am at times. So, when I first started writing a few years ago, imagine how I reacted when I received my first negative review.

I cried. My husband looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong with you?” And my response was, “They don’t like my story!”

Oy. My, how times have changed. Criticism will always sting – there’s no getting around that. As writers, we pour our hearts and souls into our words. It’s how we communicate. Heck, to a writer, putting words on the page is equivalent to breathing. When someone doesn’t like what you have to say, it’s tough to grin and bear it.

Ah, but that’s the beautiful thing about opinions – everyone is entitled to his/her own. Opinions are what make the world go ’round. Wouldn’t this world be a dull place if we all gushed over the same books? There are books I’ve read that made me go, “Eh? I don’t get it.” Those same books are the ones that have other readers posting enthusiastic 5-star reviews on Goodreads. I even have a few friends that don’t like Harry Potter. And even though I think they’re insane, I still love them.

So, back to that icky word: criticism. In my eyes, there are three ways you can deal with it. And remember, we’re talking constructive criticism, not people that have an ax to grind.

You can:

A) Stomp your foot like a toddler and say THIS IS THE BEST STORY EVER AND YOU’RE STUPID.

Yeah, I don’t recommend that one. Though some people do go this route.

B) Give up. Obviously, you’re not cut out for this. These people hate your story, hate what you have to say, and there’s no point in continuing. You and your story just aren’t as awesome as you thought you were.

This option makes me sad. Don’t give up, ‘kay? No one likes a quitter.

C) You refuse to give up. You polish that manuscript until it shines and you’re determined to make that story the best it can be. Do your story justice. Rewriting/editing/revising all suck, but they’re necessary evils. They’re evils that make your story stand out from the mediocre. You think this draft is perfect? Great. Know what? It can be better.

The choice is yours. Though I will say, no one looks too kindly upon bad author behavior. A little graciousness in this crazy world goes a long way.

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