As I read it, a black hole appeared in the pit of my stomach.
My eyes got hot and spiky.And – yes – my lower lip wobbled just a touch.That’s how this writer takes criticism and feedback.Criticism and feedback can feel like eating kiwi fruit with the skin on: uncomfortable, even painful, leading to shortness of breath.But only for a few minutes. Maximum 7 minutes. Then I have to pull myself together and crack on.Wasn’t always like that, though; a few years ago I was a wreck for hours if not days after getting feedback on my writing.I really let it get under my skin and then I’d berate myself for the total waste of time I’d indulged in crying about it.So I did a bit of reading and research and learned some stuff from clever people, and reframed the whole thing.Instead of feedback, now I ask for advice on how to make my writing better.Two key things here:
- I ask for the critique, so I know it’s coming. I pre-empt my righteous indignation and bruised writerly ego by asking for help from people whose opinions I trust.
- I don’t ask for feedback, I ask for advice. Which means I don’t get people telling me everything that’s wrong with it, I get people making suggestions for how I can make my writing better.
These are tiny but crucial details.If you, like me, have trouble with people’s critiques of your work, perhaps it’ll help you build some scaffolding under your lower lip and prevent a quantum singularity in the pit of your stomach.Happy writing!
p.s. another thing to remember: you are not only your work. A criticism of your work is not a criticism of you as a person.
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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.