Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism

Have you ever experienced that soul-crushing moment when you pour your heart out into prose and someone, usually an ambiguous someone, turns around and criticizes everything you’ve done? Often with more insult than advice?

Well then, congratulations, you’re a writer!

And if you hope to continue along in your journey as a writer, you are bound to have this experience again and again.

And again.

I know, that is not exactly reassuring, but don’t worry, there is good news coming! We have to first ask, why is criticism so common? Are we really that bad at writing? (Well, a writing group might not hurt . . .) But really, the reason behind most criticism is the fact that writing is subjective. 

Yes, there are general rules that all writers must observe. And yes, writers should present their best version of themselves in their writing. However, on a whole, writing is subjective. That is the only way to explain why some people absolutely HATE Harry Potter while the rest of the world loves it. It also helps explain why one of my readers loved my book while the other did not care for it at all.

Writing is Subjective.

Everyone has different tastes. For instance, I will never like horror novels, never, they are not my thing. So while I might hate that type of book, it does not make it a bad book for everyone else.

Before you decide to submit your work, you need to prepare yourself for feedback both positive and negative. THERE WILL BE BOTH.

Here are a few ways that you can and should respond to criticism:

  • First, you need to anticipate a mixed review. Maybe the book is perfect in your eyes, but your readers will be seeing it differently, so allow yourself to acknowledge mixed reviews.
  • Next, you need to read through a shield. What does that mean? If someone is being overly-critical, read through their comments, ignore the rude insults, and cherry-pick out whatever can actually be constructive. Usually there is at least one suggestion that you can work with.
  • Finally, after picking out what you can work on, forget the rest! Don’t spend days wallowing over the negative feedback and don’t allow it to corrode your writing!

Have you faced rejection or negative feedback?

How did you respond to it?

Happy Writing Everyone!


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5 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism”

  1. The best piece of (constructive) criticism I have received happened when I asked a beta reader to critique my manuscript. When she asked, “What is your book about?” I know I was in trouble because I respected the author who gave this observation. I didn’t take offense, but I did work harder to publish a memoir with nearly 50 five-star reviews. Criticism given in the right way is a stepping stone, not a road block. Great post, Kayla Ann!

    P.S. I have bee wondering what you think about my comment on your last post (the narrative arc).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely. I’ve been saying the same myself.
    You see so many pieces of advice from professionals that are different from one another. You have people who listen to that and their book suck and you have people who just do what feels right to them and their work becomes successful. There is no one equation to use while writing. And you will never satisfy all.

    Liked by 2 people

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