How Not to Get Discouraged By Annoying Critics Who Don't Write

How Not to Get Discouraged By Annoying Critics Who Don’t Write

How Not to Get Discouraged By Annoying Critics Who Don't Write
Photo by Lis Ferla / via Flickr

How Not to Get Discouraged By Annoying Critics Who Don't Write

Did you receive some discouraging reviews from your critics?

It's so much easier to critique someone else's work, and some people really enjoy picking apart a piece of writing and letting the writer know about it. Most of these people have never attempted to write a novel. When you set out to write a novel, a whole one and one that's polished, not just the first draft, you realize that writing a good novel is DIFFICULT. It's not something a monkey can do.

Let's say the work really did need more polishing. The trouble is, the end result is going to depend on the writer's ability to carry out the editor's suggestions. And guess what? An editor's job isn't to perfect the work; it's to improve it. Even books published by the major publishers still need more work.

Perfection in the publishing industry is a subjective term. Nobody knows what perfect is because it all depends on how a reader reads it. The reader's perception of the work is dependent on his own personal experiences and perspective on life and the themes in the work.

The quality of the writing isn't just about perfect grammar; it's about the plot, characters, setting, character motivations, and challenges. How likeable are the characters? How realistic is the setting? How realistic are the problems the characters face? Do the characters have strong motivations? Are the challenges difficult enough to engage the reader? Is the story filled with emotion and tension? Is it packed with enough action? Are there any emotional triggers that may turn off the reader?

The answers to these questions may be different for different people.

So, when we're feeling discouraged by critics, one big question we need to ask ourselves is this: am I satisfied with the work, knowing my current abilities and the amount of effort I've put into it?

Writers have to start somewhere. We have to do our best work, but we also have to understand that our skills will continue to improve over time. The goal should be to improve our writing skills with each new book we write, and studying the craft and striving to improve our work should be our main focus. When we know we've done our best and put our best effort into it, it won't matter what the critics say.

Jody Calkins
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