Creative writers have a hard time dealing with criticism – constructive or otherwise. After all, our written words are our babies, and how dare anyone criticize them or try to change them! Right? Wrong. That is a beginner’s point of view. You will be light years ahead when you can accept and actually use constructive criticism to your advantage.
One of the best ways to do this is to join a writing club. There are dozens of them, but the one I like the best is http://Writing.com. You have the opportunity to publish your stories on site and let other writers read and rate your article from one to five stars. Then it’s your turn to visit their port to read and rate some of their articles.
I will admit that there is a very small percentile of nasty people who take pleasure in jabbing newbies, and one such encounter is enough to cripple you for a long time, but I credit the site’s head master for taking proper steps in dealing with such riff-raff.
As an example, I had one story that consistently drew a five star rating and one day a woman rated it one star and wrote this message: “If you really want to be a good writer, you need to read good authors so you’ll know what good writing is. I rated your story one star, and I would have rated it less if I could have, but I admit I only read the first paragraph.”
Whoa! Talk about someone running over you with cleat shoes! I felt like a wooly worm that had just been stepped on. However, I learned two things. Firstly, you can’t pay attention to everyone. There are some real weirdos out there, and secondly, I learned to write snappy first paragraphs!
My defenses were up for a long time after that, but I remember the day when I let them down and actually heeded a helpful critique. I decided to use the lady’s suggestions, and I even thanked her for them. From that day on, I used 95% of all the critiques I received. At first I did it as an experiment, but when my ratings soared, I did it because I knew I was learning.
Dealing with rejection is a part of every writer’s life. Learn who you should share your work with. Don’t let family members or friends (who are not writers) read your work. They don’t know what they’re talking about, but they will try to teach you how to write. It’s easier to learn from strangers.
When you try to sell your stories or articles, you are sure to receive rejection slips. I wish so much that I had kept mine so I could put them into the album that now holds all of my published clippings.
Rejection is a learning time in every writer’s life, but ultimately you must learn to grow a thick hide and you will be the better for it.
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