Criticism: A writer’s reception of feedback

write.jpgI think every writer would love to get nothing but great reviews on their work. Who wouldn’t want only positive feedback, when generally showing your work equates to exposing your very soul? In the real world, you will find critiques can be downright cruel at times, or at the least disappointing when someone doesn’t recognize your genius.

First, consider the source. You will find, from time to time, people known as ‘griefers’ who want only to rain on your parade. They are the ones that post comments such as ‘you suck’ without explaining why they thought your writing was bad, or they might remark only lightly on the most basic structure of your work. I ignore these types of reviews. They provide nothing constructive and often times hold a single purpose to just make someone feel bad. If the feedback includes profanity or insults, ignore it. Unless they provide tips on how to improve, ignore that also.

Accept constructive criticism with grace. Constructive criticism is providing the means to improve one’s work. This form of criticism does not critique the author but the author’s writing or aspects thereof. The judgment on grammar, spelling, plot, dialogue, and other aspects of the whole piece focuses on improving the writing, rather than simply cutting it down. Someone who bothers to give a critique that includes some tips on what needs improvement provide valuable insight of your work.

Don’t focus on just the negative or just the positive. This is especially true when you receive a bit of both. I’ve given feedback to a budding author, only to find the they felt I gave a negative review. This was not true. I always provide a balance of what I liked, and what I didn’t like, and how I would change if- if it were me.  This is because I believe the writing was good, but could use a bit of improvement. Some of the best feedback I’ve been given included insight on errors in grammar, or spelling, or questions about plot that needed answered. I was thrilled that someone liked my writing enough to want it improved. I now take more effort in those areas, and find those areas improving.

Don’t let a bad review bring you down. I can see a sense of resentment if you continually get bad feedback, but the occasional critique is a good thing.


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