The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Monday, October 30, 2006

Taking Criticism and Using It Positively
Rose Jackson-Beavers

One of the hardest things for an author to hear is that a story that they wrote wasn’t good enough. We writers want to create the story that everyone is talking about – the story that begs a sequel to.

But what happens when the compliments don’t come? How should a writer feel when the story told is not that interesting? As a freelance writer, I was not accustomed to getting negative responses to my writing. The first time I received a negative review, I learned something very important about myself – that I didn’t handle criticism well. It was painful to know that someone didn’t like my novel, that they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. Not only did the person not like my story, they wanted to humiliate me and stop me from writing again. Who would expend so much energy to make a writer feel bad? Somebody did. But I listened, learn from it and moved forward. That was hard.

At first I wanted to stop writing. I took it hard until a dear friend step in and lifted my spirits up. It helped to receive two positive letters the next day that praised my novel. Then, as if someone else heard my pain, an author sent an email out that simply stated, “That no weapon formed against me should prosper.” I read that email over and over again. Someone knew how I felt. They had the same experience, the same pain. But as the writer stated, she would prevail. I knew that I would too.

As a writer, it is necessary to build up your courage and to strengthen your heart because you will need it through this journey of writing. Each step you take will make you better and stronger. Not all people will support you, but that’s okay too. For every person that puts you down, neglects and rejects you, two more will pick you up.


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