Sunday, April 15, 2012

Q/A Dealing with Criticism

Q: How do you handle critics?

"A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded." - Tyne Daly

A: Todays topic is one that I have experienced in my first year of being published... Criticism. Some can be positive... Some can be negative, but both can have affects on the creative person's ego.

For someone who is creative, we envision things in our mind before we bring it to life through our chosen art form: painting, drawing, writing, music, etc. Sometimes our art can work out as we envisioned or better. Sometimes it can fall short. However, no one would publicize there work unless they felt it was good. You took a chance which is more than most people have done in order to reach their dreams. Ralph Waldo Emmerson said, "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."

When someone out there in cyberspace shares your view of how great your work is, it can be amazing. You feel validated. However, when someone tears your work apart, it can be devastating! You may question your abilities, and this may stifle your creativity.

Positive and negative criticism is found everywhere and in every profession. You will always find people that both love and hate your work. What is important is that you love what you are doing. As long as the work resonates with you, odds are it will find its way to the hands of someone who will appreciate it as well. Never give up, and never give in to critics.

History has been filled with countless success stories, and you know what all of them had in common... Those that succeeded never gave up. They didn't pay too much attention to the naysayers. They believed in their own abilities and success followed. Mark Twain wrote, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

While I read both negative and positive reviews, I don't let it stop me. While some negative criticism can be constructive, I am talking about the ones that take personal jabs at your craft and character. The truth is that you will always have people that don't get it. It is their right not to like your work, but things get personal is when there is name calling. NEVER write a response to those critics. You may want to jab back, but it shows that you have more class if you keep your mouth shut! Always conduct yourself with class! Smile and bear it as they say. Your time to shine will come despite what they say.

You will have those that don't want to get it and will do everything possible to pick apart your writing. There will be a time when you receive the worst review ever. Then the next day you may have three awesome reviews. Peoples opinions vary, and you shouldn't give up on a dream because someone may not like your work.

Some of these extra negative reviewers may write something about you that seems to like overkill. They may write comments that go below the belt. Ignore them and push forward. You have to think why someone would say something like that... Perhaps, some of these reviewers are writers themselves. I usually find that those people feel the need to downgrade really great work to make their own skills seem superior. Their motive is to eliminate the competition. I have always been supportive of other authors, and I love following Indie authors on Twitter. Most are wonderful and supportive. Seek out those. I think that variety is fun as a reader. As a writer, I know that no one has my writing style, because everyone's style is as different as a fingerprint. So, I don't mind new writers in the field. I enjoy them and, obviously, have no problem dishing advice.

I have had some hostile critics. I have had people write that I chose the wrong POV for a story, that I lacked skill, that my writing is flat, that my characters had no depth, that my writing is vulgar, that my stories are bloody and heartless. Someone even blogged that they doubted they would hear more about my work in the future. Someone wrote that they wanted the time they spent reading my work back. I am not writing this to acknowledge these comments, but to show that everyone has a critic. The point is that there are always people who see the glass as half empty and are use to being negative. There will always be people who are stuck on the traditional way of publishing and don't want to read anything from an indie author. What matters is that you do what you love and have fun doing it.

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