5 Ways to Handle Criticism as a Writer


For any novelist, failure and criticism are part of the job.

First, there is rejection. You have to be prepared for a lack of interest from publishers.

Then, indifference. If you manage to publish, and if people notices you, they are very likely to ask you "And who do you think you are?".

Even if everything goes well, your novel will continue to be imperfect. Everyone will remind you of its flaws. Your family and friends. Other writers. Everyone.

Criticism is part of a writer's life. You will have to face it. After all, you want to write novels and you are going to write them no matter what.

Here you have 5 strategies to help you deal with criticism.




1. Don't lose your sense of humor. If you take rejection for granted, it will be easier for you to laugh at it when it comes. They will criticise you anyway: it doesn't matter!

2. Before that, you must be sure that you write the novel you want to write. The most important thing is feeling confident about the book you are going to publish.

To feel confident, there's nothing like having written what you thought was best, the book you wanted. And having done everything you could to write a good book.

Listen to your editor's advice. If your editor criticises the novel and asks for rewrites, don't take it personal. See it as a chance to get better. Actually, you'll be lucky if you have a demanding editor. Editors want to publish good books.

3. Artistic works are always subject to opinions of all kinds. All novels are, even the best ones. We have all criticised more than one book for subjective reasons. We have all heard people saying they didn't like a book (or a movie, etc.) with no further explanation. This is normal. Your book will jump into the arena. Along with the best books. Don't pay attention to unfair criticism.

To summarize the two previous points: do what you want, people will criticise you anyway.

4. If people criticises you, it may be tempting to take note of their words. Do not even think about it. They should be talking about your novel, not about you. And, in the first place, they must demonstrate, by their words, by their opinions, that they have read the book. Only then will you be possibly facing constructive criticism. With this in mind, it won't be difficult for you to tell a proper review from mockery.

5. Haters, on social media, will always hate, no matter what you do. Haters hate. Yet they are not part of a group, they are not different from us. Anyone, behind the screen, can criticise for no reason. Social networks generate this lack of empathy. If we met one of these so called haters in person, he or she would turn out to be human. Do not give importance to what people can say without paying attention. What they say doesn't matter to them either.

And unfair criticism will never be better than your novel.

To summarise points 4 and 5: ignoring insults is the best response.

I hope you find these 5 points helpful. Surely you can think of many other ways to handle undeserved criticism.

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