Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

How Writers Handle Criticism


The roots of “criticism” are “able to make judgments” and “to separate, decide”. 

Authors Response to Criticism

Image courtesy of Trish Parisy ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/tpacific

Many folks feel it means something more like “to lash severely with a whip”

Of course, there are critics who carry whips in their judging minds and love to use them.

So, should “good” criticism be easy to take?

Naturally, it all depends on the writer’s attitude

Two past posts on this blog covered various aspects of criticism:

How A Story’s Integrity Can Save It From Certain Criticisms

Facing Negative Criticism ~ Is Thinking Like An Artist The Same As Thinking Like A Normal Human?

A couple months ago, FlavorWire had an article most any writer could find valuable—11 Writers on How They Deal With Criticism—from which I’ll share a few excerpts [one from each of the eleven] (though, if you have problems with criticism, do go read the whole thing):

“I try really hard to consider the source before I let myself feel insulted or get defensive, but if it seems like a legitimate critique, I try to take it in and be informed by it. That’s often easier said than done, of course.”

– Sari Botton

“I’m the obsessive type. I’ll read every single review, every single email, every single rejection, every single damn Goodreads/Amazon review. I’ll read between the lines, looking for something that’s probably not there. I’ll take it personal.”

– Michael Seidlinger

“I remember being desperate for tough criticism of my work.  I felt like if no one had any real criticism, that meant it was such a mess that they weren’t engaged enough to say anything.”

– Jacinda Townsend

“I don’t know that I do bounce back from negative criticism. I absorb it and move on.”

– Cari Luna

“In large part, I deal with negative criticism (and positive criticism, which isn’t all that helpful either) by ignoring it.”

– Matthew Specktor

“For me it’s important to acknowledge the inevitability of negative criticism. If I continue to write and to publish, it is going to happen.”

– Laura van den Berg

“First of all, you have no choice but to bounce back. What else can you do? You are in an audience-based industry. To think everyone will love you or your work or try to go for that is a really delusional empty enterprise.”

– Porochista Khakpour

“…often times a critic’s gripes are actually the things you like about your writing.”

– Kevin Sampsell

“Tell myself that it’s just one opinion and might be right but also might be wrong or somewhere in between.”

– Caryn Rose

“If you don’t have something new to work on, criticism of older things just spirals blackly.”

– Gideon Lewis Kraus

“Remembering that I exist in a big world in which the majority of people do not read negative criticisms of me, and might not even know what I do for a living, is freeing.”

– Jen Doll

So, one criticism of those excerpts that I can give myself is that they are epigrammatic and don’t necessarily convey the full attitude of each writer

You might want to read the whole thing and come back here and leave your own criticisms in the comments :-)

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One response to “How Writers Handle Criticism

  1. Pingback: Are You An Aspiring Writer? | Notes from An Alien

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