Every writer, in my belief, needs to learn how to face criticisms with grace. Seriously, it is a skill you need have in order to survive in the publishing world.
I was lucky I learned to accept criticisms even before becoming an author. My training as a journalist came in handy. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. Of course it does. But I’ve rearranged how I perceive constructive criticisms so that it helps me instead of discourage me.
Here are some tips on how to face criticisms with grace:
It’s not personal
Unless you sent your manuscript to a freenemie who really hated you (and why would you?) then remember that the criticism isn’t personal. When you’re getting feedback from a professional, they are looking at your work from different perspectives – as a publisher, an editor, a marketing exec, a reader etc. If they have constructive criticisms to your manuscript, it is worth heeding. Use this time to go through your work while thinking about what feedback you got. I found that I always improved my work when I’m considering the criticism.
Swallow your ego
We all have egos. No matter how humble you think you are, you do have one. When receiving constructive criticisms, swallow that ego – all of it. And be like a child listening to a parent who is making it a teachable moment. Even if you don’t agree with everything you heard, there might be something that you could use to improve yourself as a writer. You know you are good but remember that there is always room for improvement. Even the great writers try and learn from others no matter how long they’ve been in the industry.
Know who to believe
Just because you are open to criticisms doesn’t mean you just believe everyone who tells you what they think. Surround yourself with people you trust. They may be professionals in the publishing world. Or maybe an avid reader who knows a thing or two about books. Maybe a librarian. If you just nod and accept all criticisms, no matter where they come from, you’ll go nuts. Know who you can trust and stick to them. Remember, people who want you to succeed will always give you criticisms that will help you grow as a writer. For everything else, just brush the criticism off and move on.