The fear someone can experience from hearing someone critique their work is out of this world.
But if you want to make it in the world of Indie authors, grow the hide of an alligator and prevent yourself from shedding it like a snake.
Hearing someone give a bad review on something you have written can be heartbreaking. It comes with the industry. You have to take it and run with it. Don’t let it get to you.
I think of writing and life in this sort of spherical sense.
When someone tells you they dislike your work, it can come off as if someone called you ugly, or fat, or any number of derogatory names that might hurt your self-esteem. It’s the same sort of issue. It can be hard to tell whether it was deliberate, or if it was a good dose of constructive criticism that you took the wrong way.
A line is drawn, but it’s not always easy to tell where that line is.
When I started writing longer pieces in high school. I thought my work was wonderful. In the same sense I was terrified of someone telling me my writing was awful. I got this superiority complex, nobody would tell me wrong. Needless to say, I climbed off my high pedestal and excepted my writing for what it was. Garbage, with bad plot, terrible spelling, and even worse grammar. There I began my real writing journey. I opened myself up for opportunities. I looked at someone’s comments on my writing not as a bad thing, but as a suggestion field.
Hey this is what you need to improve on. Maybe try this. The plot is great, but you have too much going on.
Things were going great then I hit my junior year in high school. I went backwards and dug myself in a writing hole that started to consume me.
By the beginning of my senior year I was so tired of looking at the same work over and over again that I stopped turning my computer on. I was trying to give up on my lifelong dream.
Gradually everything got worse, I was barely hanging on in school and I grasped for some traction. Christmas break rolled around and I got tired of feeling unlike myself. I started doing research. A lot of it. By January I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. In February I declared to a few family and friends that by the end of the year I was going to fulfill my dream and go on to be the person that I have always wanted to be. On my own terms.
Initially some of my family was skeptical. They suggested maybe I take the traditional route.
Frankly I am not a patient person. I did the rounds of sending out query letters. I waited long enough. The decision to self publish was my way of accepting the criticism of not being published by a big name publisher. That was a huge obstacle for me. I conquered it. I began my trek up the mountain, one rocky edge at a time.
It hasn’t been a year since I made my decision. I’ve graduated and moved on to college. I did it, I made it to the top of the mountain.
What I really did, was I accepted the criticism I was receiving as a goal. Okay what have I learned about her opinion on this chapter? What points is she projecting I change or improve? What is the relevance of what she is saying? I see where she is coming from. That’s a good idea. I never thought of that!
The fact is no matter what you do, how great your writing is, or how famous you are. Someone out there in a world of billions is going to dislike it, probably absolutely hate it. While another is going to fall in love with your work and romance it to its core.
It’s your job to have enough respect for yourself and for those people to not give up.
I may never be a good writer, but I will never be the worst writer. It’s that simple logic. It keeps me going, it says Okay so and so doesn’t like it, but I do and someone out there does.
If Stephen King or JK Rowling took to heart every bad thing a reader or critic has said about them or their novels. They would not get out of bed in the morning.
Writing is an art. It’s a means to an end for many. It can be opinionated or biased, derived from the person who wrote it.
The importance of criticism is that it is merely a suggestion. It doesn’t mean anything, unless you make it mean something.
It’s the writers choice.