Criticism – how do I cope with it?

Every time we, as writers, put our work out there, we open the door wide and say to mean old criticism, “Come on in.”

Actually we’re even more sadistic than that – we go out our way to get reviews, almost begging for them. Why? Because without reviews we know we won’t sell a darn thing.

I’m facing this now because my novella comes out soon, uncomfortably soon: Wednesday July 9. I figure I’d better come to terms with criticism quick smart.

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Image via Flickr creative commons, courtesy of Celestine Chua

In S. J. Connolly-Reisner’s article, Dealing with Criticism, she says, “For every person who likes what you write, two will hate it, and three will be indifferent.”

Connolly-Reisner uses bad reviews as motivation. She cuts them out and sticks them on her wall above her computer. Here are two she’s received:

  • “I prefer stories that do not put my readers in danger of losing their lunch.” (From an editor)
  • “You have no business being a writer and should give up.” Ouch! (From a reader)

The insults challenged Reisner to improve. And she did.


image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of BK

Reisner took a negative and made a positive.

Lately I’ve been spying on the stats and figures of a few well known romance writers. I’m talking about successful people like Nora Roberts and Anne Stuart. The good news is that even they get 1 and 2 star reviews sometimes.

I might even talk myself into believing that 1 and 2 star reviews are necessary. Bad reviews add credibility to good ones. Yes, I’ll go as far as saying a mix of reviews is an absolute must. If harsh criticism is good for Nora, then it’s fine by me too. Now, I’ve just  got to grow that thick skin.


Happy cat image via Flickr creative commons, courtesy of Mike Mozart




4 thoughts on “Criticism – how do I cope with it?

  1. Elizabeth, I find your comments very inspirational and love reading them. They say everyone has a book in them but I think mine must be buried so deeply that it’s never going to surface – I’ll continue to dream.

    • Never say never. One day you will sit at your computer and your story will all pour out. It doesn’t have to be a novel. You could write a short story or a novella and self publish your writing as an e-book. The dream becomes the reality. Thanks for your comment Kate.

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