QUICK FIX: Confront the Critic
Writers’ Forum (July, 2009)
Criticism can be positive or negative. It can be constructive in helping you hone your skills or even stop you writing altogether.
When work is criticised think about who is criticising it, if they have made valid and constructive points, and then decide what to take on board. For instance, criticism from a published author or critique service specialising in your particular genre will carry more weight than someone in a writing group, who although well intentioned, might not understand exactly what you are aiming for.
The biggest critic of all is the one which sits on your shoulder and can stop you even beginning for fear of getting it wrong – in other words yourself.
• If you find it difficult to begin, ‘write for the bin’. Set up a file on your computer or have a special notebook for writing which no one else will ever see. This allows your creativity to flow.
• Be objective with criticism. People are criticising your work, not you as a person. But ask yourself if their comments are valid and only take them on board if they are.
• If you receive a critique which you feel is harsh put it away for a while. Time brings objectivity and you might later discover good advice and positive comments which you missed first time round.
• At some point open your ‘writing for the bin’ file. You will very probably discover a number of gems that can be used – it’s never as bad as you think!
• Remember that it is your work and the final decision is yours..