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Surviving Criticism : Conversation question • Page 6 • 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.
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SWickham
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby SWickham » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:30 am

I'm new here and am just reading some posts....this thread has me terrified!! LOL

I just joined "Critters" and have a piece in the queue, I also just joined a writing group and am going to take a short story in for them to critique. I have sent in my first ever submission to an online e-zine. I hope I can handle it all!!

I am hoping that my current career (Professional Fitness competitor) has prepared me for rejection and critique....I have competed for 10 years, the last four in the professional ranks. We stand on stage in a teeny bikini to have our physiques judged and then "flip" around for two different fitness routines that are judged, and we are judged by not only the judges, but also by the audience present as well as all the fans watching on the internet etc. So I am HOPING that this has prepared me for writing "judging" but I'm not sure!

Any and all tips will be appreciated!!

enolan
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby enolan » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:20 pm

In a creative non-fiction course I took in college, my professor said during the critique of my (VERY) personal essay that the only thing that worked was the setting. I was ready to run out of the room. Then one of my fellow students (who happened to be the guy all the girls in my class had a crush on) spoke up and said he disagreed. He thought my essay was the best piece he'd read by anyone in the class so far, and laid out why he said so. It was what I imagine having a knight in shining armor defend your honor would feel like- only better, because he was doing it out of a sincere appreciation of my writing! On the way out of class that day, pretty much every girl stopped by my desk and said "I'm so jealous". It turned out to be the most flattering hour I'd ever spent in a writing workshop.

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Holly624
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby Holly624 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:50 am

The worst response I got was from my college advisor after I told her that I wanted to be a writer. She said:
"Well, I wouldn't tell anyone that."

The funniest response was from the head of the English department after I declared my major. He said:
"So you declared, Holly. You should just jump out that window right now."

dgford
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby dgford » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:19 am

This was awesome.  I love it when a plan comes together.  Sounds like your fellow student could handle the class better than the so-called teacher in charge.  I teach a Writers' Life course at various local schools and they hired me on the basis of my writng sales and my writing piece samples in particular.  I told them up front I only had a two year Forestry degree.  "While it is true we have many English teachers and professors here, they have not sold any writings, whereas you have." 

I didn't fight it.   I just signed the check and cashed it.  Bravo to you, you will go far in your writing, as long as you let NO ONE stop you! Cheers, Don


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4thtroika
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby 4thtroika » Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:18 pm

For those that have recieved scathing criticism from teachers:

Just remember this old Peanuts cartoon. Charlie Brown shows Shermy how Snoopy can fetch a ball.

"I taught him that," Charlie Brown says.

"Oh, so you can do the same thing?" Shermy asks.

"Of course not," Charlie Brown replies. "those who can't, teach."


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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby RhysHairNo! » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:49 pm

At the risk of sounding like a fraidy-cat: I’m terrified of criticism. As a teen I wrote poetry (who didn’t?) and submitted it to my high school English teacher for review. He tactfully and helpfully pointed out areas I could improve, but it was definitely outside his job description since I was writing of my own volition rather than for assignments. I started to sense that he’d had enough, and sure enough, one day he handed a piece back to me with a sigh and the comment, “Well, it needs serious editing, and only you can do that.” It killed me. I didn’t stop writing, but I did stop considering my poetry worthwhile.

I write small non-fiction pieces for small newsletters, where the readership is almost guaranteed to be receptive and encouraging. And hey, it’s useful material for the organizations concerned. But I’m unable to show my creative writing to anyone. Oh sure, recently I read a draft to my eight-year-old daughter. How’s that for a nonexistent risk? No one else gets to see any of it. I’m trying to change: I guess you could consider this forum to be a kind of aversion therapy...

A thought-provoking discussion, for us fraidy-cats.
Samantha

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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby Ultimate Cheapskate » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:53 pm


dgford
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby dgford » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:48 pm

You said: " But I’m unable to show my creative writing to anyone. Oh sure, recently I read a draft to my eight-year-old daughter. How’s that for a nonexistent risk?"
I remember that when my son was just a baby, I would read to him in his crib or bed. He listened intently to every word, only making the usual pacifier sound: Anong, Anong. He is 34 now and on his own. My daughter who is eleven, explained to me that he really was trying toi get the word out: Annoying, Annoying. Ha Ha, I told her, as she too ate up my stories, I think!?! LOL Cheers, Don

RhysHairNo!
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby RhysHairNo! » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:34 am

Hmm, somehow I posted that twice...interesting.

Cheapskate, you're absolutely right, darn it!. This is obviously going to take more guts than I had reckoned on.

And reading to the baby is a stroke of genius! I love your soother sound: anong, anong. In our family it was bukka-bukka-bukka. I love onomatopoeia! My daughter is a very kind child and sat patiently until I had finished before giving me a bright smile and skipping out of the room. It was a bit too old for her (just a little!).

Samantha

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SWickham
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby SWickham » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:47 am

This might not be the right place to post this question, but.....

To all you veterans of the WD forums, how have you found the criticism (or I should say critiques) on THIS board when people post their work? I'd like to post but am experiencing that debilitating writer's fear of rejection and horrible feedback! Since I am just getting my writer's feet back under me, I'm a little nervous to "expose" myself..... :o

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