I know that receiving criticism is part of growing as a writer. But for some reason, I’m extremely afraid of getting feedback, especially when they’re from experienced and mature writers. How do I get over this fear?
? Favorite Answer
Come to terms with your writing abilities. If you’re sh*t, work on it. Hard work goes along way my friend.
Get the book, “Smart Actors, Foolish Choices”. Actors and writers face the same thing: rejection. I think it can be more dangerous for actors who don’t know how to handle it because our bodies are the product being judged in an audition, and there are very few CDs that will bother to give valid reasons why someone else was cast.
Mayfield addresses this topic in her book. In seeking critique, it exposes you; your very soul is being equated with the MS you just submitted, & that is a warped view.
But that is at the very heart of your fear: if they don’t choose your book, then that means you’ve failed as a person. As someone said (and Mayfield says), be MORE than. Be a whole person with other facets and not one who sits by the mail, waiting in agony. Do something else but write. Learn a skill. Love yourself. If you do this in earnest, combined with numerous rejections, criticism just doesn’t sting, because you’ve taught yourself that your identity is not ONLY in being a writer.
Source(s): Network television/stage comedic actor; professional stand-up comic; published DTB/KDP author; now seeking double doctorates in Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics.
It is absolutely terrifying, I know! You pour your heart and soul into something and then have to hand it over to someone to tear to shreds. It is VERY scary. The first time I did it, I was terrified and I still don’t like to do it today. But it does get easier after you’ve done it a couple of times.
It is a necessary evil, though.
If you want to send it to me, I’ll go easy on you. I will definitely tell you what’s wrong with it, but I won’t be mean about it. LOL that was my worst fear!
Also, it does help to take it with a grain of salt. You do absolutely need critique from other writers, but one thing to keep in mind is that you aren’t writing for other writers. You’re writing for readers. We tend to get so caught up in pleasing editors and impressing agents that we forget about that, but keep it in mind.
As for the actual critique, if someone can’t provide you with a well-rounded critique – meaning if they can’t also tell you what’s GOOD about what you’ve written – then ignore it. Some people are far too determined to tear down young writers and make them feel bad about themselves. I fell victim to that myself once. If anyone just flames you, insults your work and can’t tell you anything positive at all, then just ignore it. Good critics WILL give you both sides.
Source(s): YA Author
I know that fear. I lived it. If you don’t want to hear what others have to say, experienced or not, your writing should stay a private thing. If/when your writing goes out before other people, some twits are going to say awful, ignorant things about your work. Let them. If you can’t deal with that criticism, then you shouldn’t expose yourself to it.
For myself, and I don’t know if this is the advice that you need, I waited to expose my writing to any outsiders until I knew which voices to listen to. I have some relationships in my life that dominate my feelings, some criticisms I can’t unhear, so I had to learn to cut those out. Not to cut away the relationships, but to cut away the importance I gave to those voices. Once I got to a point where I was my biggest fan and my toughest critic, then I started letting others read and critique my work. Sometimes, these other people have good advice. Sometimes, they don’t get what I’m trying to do. If they don’t understand, I need to write differently. If they get it but don’t like it, that’s okay. (This is a big part of why I write under a pen name. It helps me keep a boundary between my sweet baby book and the opinions of others. Love it or hate it, that’s your problem.)
Getting to this point took time. And patient exposure to people who weren’t crazy about my work. What I did between discovering that I feared criticism and being able to let anyone read my work was to write a lot of non-fiction. Mostly essays. But getting to a point where I could say what I meant to the specific audience of a learned professor built both my confidence in my writing and my awareness of my writing strengths and weaknesses. For whom are you writing now, that could help you develop your own experience and maturity?
Feedback can hurt, no matter how long you’ve been getting it. Trust me, you don’t want to read amazon reviews first thing in the morning.
So don’t set your goals on pleasing everyone. Count on criticism. Your job is this: separate the helpful criticism from the hurtful. If you can learn anything from it, be thankful and use it. If not, take a deep breath and have a big sip of coffee, then move on.
I know exactly how you feel. I used to be terrified to read my poetry in front of people for how they would react. The easiest way found was to speak with my closest friend and express that you want to share something with them. After that then try someone not as close. Personally I don’t care what people think of it anymore, its my poetry and I like it.
It’s your job to clarify what’s wrong with your work. But you have to take everything else like opinions or judgments as what they are to take inspiration from.