Criticism is sometimes difficult to manage. Constructive criticism, however well delivered, can hurt as much as the intentionally cruel criticism, but if you view both types the right way, it can be very helpful to you as a romance writer. After all, you’re going to come into contact with “feedback” from a variety of sources.
You’ll have feedback from agents and editors. You’ll get criticism from friends and family, from critique group members, from judges if you enter contests, and in the form of reviews once you’ve published.
It’s going to come at you from all directions and finding the balance can make a significant difference in your happiness and your productivity as a romance writer.
Some people seem to let criticism roll off their backs. Others lash out when they’re criticized and may hurt what they’re ultimately trying to accomplish. The best way to view criticism is with a balance between desensitizing yourself too much so you’re unfeeling – and taking it too personally that it discourages you and sabotages your efforts.
Online criticism, particularly online reviews and online critique groups, can be especially difficult because it isn’t done face to face. People don’t have to deal with the reaction of the other person, so they may feel freer to criticize with harsher words.
A person may be in a bad mood when he criticizes your efforts and take it out on you undeservingly. Your first reaction might be to lash out at the person with some harsh criticism of your own.
The best way to fight that first reaction and keep yourself from reacting in a way you’ll regret is to take a minute to give it some thought. Take a deep breath, step back and take no reaction at all until a later time when you’ve cooled down and are thinking more clearly.
Combat the negatives with positives.
If someone has criticized you in a way that feels rude and unjustified, finding a kernel of honest feedback in the criticism can turn it around so that both you can benefit from it.
Criticism can provide you with a unique opportunity to improve – and to show others that you have a unique and positive way of looking at and measuring feedback. When you thank others (especially those who criticize harshly) for their feedback, it will likely surprise them.
Your attitude may turn them around in their thinking and win them over to become fans. Even if the person doesn’t react positively to your own positive attitude, you’ll feel better about yourself.
Learning from the criticism you receive can make your romance writing career thrive. You may only learn a small bit of truth from the criticism, but it may spur you on to make a greater effort in your online endeavors.
Never let the words of others result in a heap of self doubt. Take their $0.02 and apply it wherever you feel it’s worthy and then discard the rest. Stay above the fray and accept criticism with grace and diplomacy rather than giving in to your first reaction.