Learning to Accept Criticism

Photograph by Carli Jean Miller courtesy of Unsplash
Photograph by Carli Jean Miller courtesy of Unsplash

Learning to Accept Criticism

Let me be clear – I am rubbish at accepting criticism of any kind. I know that it is childish and immature, and is something I need to work, on but I am a sensitive little soul and my feelings get easily hurt. The thing is if I am going to be a successful writer and have my books published then I am going to have to grow a pair. It is only if we are able to critically evaluate our own performance at anything that we are able to improve. I know that, I really do, but every time I hear criticism of my writing I can feel my blood run cold. It feels like a criticism of me personally and a chorus of ‘see? You’re not good enough! Who do you think you are to believe that you can be a writer?’ echoes around my head.

When it comes to writing my training is limited to a GCSE in English taken in 1994 so it stands to reason that it is not always perfect in terms of grammar and structure. My husband is a very smart man and what we affectionately refer to in modern culture as a Grammar Nazi. He is also my biggest fan and harshest critic and for that I love him and hate him in equal measure. Sometimes it is incredibly hard to accept criticism from the people you love, often their love for you will cloud their judgement and they will be unable to be completely honest. When they are it hurts.

Photograph by Sergey Zolkin courtesy of Unsplash
Photograph by Sergey Zolkin courtesy of Unsplash

Last night, home alone, the familiar doubts set in about my talents, abilities, and whether or not I am, or ever will be, a real writer. I joined a couple of Facebook groups and got some great advice on what I could do to get real, honest feedback from other writers. Apparently I am not the only writer wracked with self doubt and insecurity, who knew? I was advised to join an online writers network called Scribophile, which works on a karma system. You critique other people’s work and build up karma points, and in return others provide critique on your writing. We shall see how this pans out, hopefully it will be an excellent source of constructive feedback.

Today a total stranger offered to read and critique my writing and I did two things that are unheard of for me. Not only did I accept his offer but I spoke to him on the phone. That may seem like a trivial thing but for me it was huge because I hate phones and do my utmost to avoid them at all times.Β I listened as he tore my work to shreds; sometimes I agreed with him, sometimes I didn’t. It was a challenging experience but I’m glad I did it. If it takes me one step closer to being the best writer that I can be then it was worth every excruciating second.

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30 thoughts on “Learning to Accept Criticism

  1. I really don’t mind taking criticism as long as the person giving it does so in a nice way… I find that nowadays, especially on the internet, everyone is quick to criticise, and they often go about it in completely the wrong way! It’s almost like it’s more of a contest on the internet…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean and I’m really hoping this website isn’t like that. It can be very disheartening when people use it as an excuse to show off their knowledge instead of being constructive. Thanks for reading and commenting. πŸ™‚

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  2. I understand that a criticism is sometimes hard to accept because it affects our egos and self esteem. Nobody wants to here we’re not good enough, as long as the criticism is constructive then I accept it with a positive attitude. If it’s ill-willed, I will try to brush it off and focus on the good things and turn to my support system.
    Good luck on your writing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Learning to accept criticism can be soo difficult. I agree that it definitely depends on how it is given and sometimes who it is given by. However, it is impossible to succeed without having some form of critique (whether it is from yourself or another). Good luck with Scribophile! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Autumn, so far so good! I have critiqued work for others and have tried very hard to be as positive and encouraging as possible whilst still being constructive. I hope others are as gentle with me! Thanks for reading and commenting. πŸ™‚

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  4. Accepting criticism can be very difficult no doubt but this post was so well put and on the point, Loved reading it! If you want success, learn to accept criticism, thats what I have learned πŸ™‚ Thank you for such a nice post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In my opinion, we should only accept constructive criticism from people we know and trust. If you want to continue in the group, you do so at your own peril. Either accept it or reject it… After all, it’s your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha! And strangely enough I think of you when I get all butthurt about someone close to me offering me a critique. A long time ago I was doing something twatish, I cannot for the life of me remember what, and you called me a twat. I got all butthurt and you told me that just because you were calling me on being a twat didn’t mean that you didn’t love me… So thanks for helping me learn to accept criticism.

    P.S. I’m still rubbish at it.

    P.P.S You’re awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, no, no! I’m pretty sure I deserved it, I feel it’s one of the best lessons I’ve had to learn and I remember it often. x

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