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Surviving Criticism : Conversation question • Page 3 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Surviving Criticism

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
RuthTC
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby RuthTC » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:03 pm

I teach a class on "Getting Started in Editorial Freelancing" that usually gets very good reviews, but one person wrote a really nasty comment about it to the host organization recently. I was devastated, because I put a lot of effort and experience into these workshops, but my organization contact wrote back to say I shouldn't worry about one negative comment when everyone else was so pleased with the program. And that the complainer wasn't getting her money back! I re-read all the nice, appreciative evaluations to reassure myself that all was well. It's amazing how one mean remark can be hurtful enough to override a dozen positive comments. Must have something to do with the lingering effects of grade-school bullying.

rythmdancer
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby rythmdancer » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:49 am

I've learned to accept criticism with a grain of salt. It's been MY experience that whenever someone attacks me, it usually means I've done my job and been so successful at communicating my point, it ruffled some feathers. Either that, or I just flat don't appeal to them. Either way, that's ok. I can't please everybody all of the time, so I try to consider the source of the criticism. If it is from a respected source, only THEN do I re-evaluate my work. Sometimes, I end up deciding they may have a point, they just didn't go about it in a "constructive" manner, and other times, I choose to adopt the attitude that I don't care. Either way, I win. I'm constantly striving for improvement. It's all about perspective. I make the conscious choice not to let criticism get the better of me.

heathermoreland
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby heathermoreland » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:47 am

Great answer rythm dancer!! We shouldn't begin to reevaluate our work every time someone criticizes because many times it is just because we have "ruffled feathers" or just plain jealousy in some cases.... But, when it is coming from a respected source, criticism should be seriously taken into account but nevertheless the choice remains with the writer. The writer must never become someone else for any human being, no matter who they are. ;)

http://www.peacebeginshere.wetpaint.com

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jrprimm
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby jrprimm » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:14 am

I think the worst review I've gotten was no review at all.

A "friend" of mine came to visit my office for no particular

reason and we were just hanging out and shootin' the breeze.

I had printed out the first two chapters of my latest effort and asked

him to take a look at them and share his honest, unbiased opinion.

He took a seat and I went back to work as he read. Around ten minutes

past and I was lost in my writing as he got up and said, "Well, I've got

to get going Joe, I'll have to finish this later."

Now I can take criticism, good or bad as well as anyone, but that

silence really disturbed me for a while. I finally mentioned it to him

and he smiled and said, "No offense meant, I'm just not a western fan."

Made me feel a bit better... I think:(

 

Best,

Joe


leikec
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby leikec » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:18 pm

Quote - "Over the years I've been told that I sucked as a writer, that a specific piece I wrote was #@$%#, and that I was an idiot of a writer."


You believed me when I said that???

Jeff C

abqwriter
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby abqwriter » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:53 pm


leikec
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby leikec » Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:40 pm

Yo quero, kiddo...

 

I've told you how I feel regarding your writing.  :)

 

Jeff C 


OmenSpirits.com
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:05 pm

The only criticism I received was on a rejected story for a crime magazine. It was because I'd sent them a traditional P.I. story during my 'Chandler' days with my own P.I. as a Marlowe type. The editor told me they were looking for more 'cutting edge'. For awhile I asked myself what the devil that meant?

Funny how time turns, because years later, that same mag's publisher asked me for a story of another P.I. I wrote, but set in modern times.

Heh.

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Lexi
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby Lexi » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:22 am

The best criticism I ever received was from a friend who is currently writing her first fantasy novel. I offered to read what she had so far. I wrote her several notes in the margins (constructive criticism) and went through everything with her in person. She took most of it well, but there was one sentence that I offered my own version of...
She looked at me with big eyes and said, "That's horrible."

I never laughed so hard in my life.

I thanked her for being so honest, and yes, we are still friends.

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Lexi
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby Lexi » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:56 pm

Being torn to shreds by someone you don't know isn't as bad as having your heart ripped out by someone you do know.

This just happened to me today at lunch.

I was at Applebee's with my husband (there was my first mistake) and because I had just finished writing a few pages of my novel-in-progress, it was fresh in my mind and I wanted to talk about it. So, I begin relaying the wonderful ideas I have for the current scene I'm involved in and he's staring back at me blankly, but allows me to talk while he steals french fries off my son's plate. I briefly pause for thought (yeah, I still had more to say) and he looks at me and says with all seriousness,

"If I were reading that book, and read what you just said, I would have closed it immediately and thrown it in the trash."

Harsh. And I have to wake up to his face every morning.

I've decided not to tell him any more about my book, but I'm still writing it.

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