Relatively small word, huge meaning. Criticism can be hurtful but if given in the correct manner, helpful.
As an author, I opened myself up to criticism. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do before. I don’t have a thick skin. I get hurt easily, and when someone downs something I love doing, I’m not going to lie, it hurts.
But, as it turns out, I’ve learned a lot over the past year based on some criticism I’ve received about Piercing Through the Darkness. I’ve listened and learned about some habits of mine that might exactly not work in a novel. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ignore what things people say because they are too hurtful and not constructive at all. (Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with this directly but a few of my friends have.)
I remember the first time I sat in a writing class. I poured my heart into a short story, the short story that Piercing Through the Darkness was based on. I turned it in and waited for my other classmates to read it and criticize it.
When that day came, I was a bundle of nerves. (Note: There were only 6 of us in our creative writing class.) Some of the feedback was very helpful; some of it not. When I made it to university and was taking the courses required to get my emphasis on Creative Writing, I was even more nervous. There were about 20 people who were reading my short stories.
I got the work back with ‘X’s on two or three pages not to mention countless other paragraphs marked out. My heart sank. I had marks on there that said, “NECESSARY!!!!!” “SERIOUSLY!!” I wanted to crawl under my desk and pretend that I wasn’t even there and that they weren’t talking to me.
In edits though, I realized they were right. What they had marked out wasn’t necessary. So, I edited and came out with a completely different story than when I began. A much better story.
As an author, we all know that edits are IMPORTANT. If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll also know that I HATE editing. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it. I mean you can only read your own novel so many times without going crazy. That’s why I haven’t re-read Piercing Through the Darkness.
Okay… I digress.
Criticism may hit hard, and when they (whoever they are) say, you have to have a thick skin being a writer, they weren’t wrong.
I’m quickly growing a thick skin. Rejection letters, people who don’t like my novella – well, I can’t take it personally. People are going to hate what I write just as some will like or hopefully love it.
So, I take these not-so-good reviews and use them to my advantage. I’ll use them to make my writing better, and I’ll use them as a tool to keep myself humble when I hit it big. Okay, just kidding about that last part. But I will use them in order to make this year a better writing year than I did last year. I may not write three novels this year like last, but by gosh, I’ll write a dang good one!
So, take that criticism and turn it upside down. Wait that’s a smile. Take that criticism and make your writing better! It can’t hurt, right?
What do you think?