This is the second installment of a series that will provide a variety of tips for writers. As a writer, it’s difficult to accept that not everyone will like your story. Growing confident in your writing ability is a daunting task and may take years. But don’t be discouraged! Here are some helpful tips about how to process constructive criticism.
- Under no circumstances are you required to listen to them! They are only making suggestions based on their opinion. If you strongly disagree, or feel they aren’t providing helpful feedback, ignore it! At the end of the day, it’s your story, your writing, and you don’t have to change something if you really like it. Not every single person is going to like certain aspects of the story, that doesn’t mean it has to be changed.
- Ask for details. Sometimes people don’t explain why they disliked something. Don’t be afraid to ask why they didn’t like it! Even if you disagree, thorough feedback is a great way to understand how your potential audience is reading it. Sometimes, they may not have a reason and you can brush off their dislike of it.
- Try not to argue. Whatever they say about what you write is their opinion. If they dislike something, don’t fight back. You don’t have to agree and you don’t have to listen. It’s not worth the emotional energy to argue with someone when you could focus that energy into your writing!
- Have several people look at the work, not just one. The more people who read it, the more diverse the feedback will be. When a large group reads it and all notice the same thing, it’s something worth looking at. But, if only one person notices something, you know it’s not a major thing you need to worry about! Plus, if you disagree with someone you have lots of other feedback you can consider while ignoring one (or several).
- Think about who is reading it. If you’re writing a middle grade fantasy novel, but have a 50 year old man who dislikes fantasy reading it, you won’t get helpful feedback. Share the story with people who are interested in the genre and possibly have experience. This will help get you the best feedback possible!
- Don’t share it if you don’t feel ready! If you’re really uncomfortable with what you’ve written and want to work on it more, work on it more! There’s no rush to get it out there until you feel ready to receive feedback on it.
- Be confident in your choices. At the end of the day, this is your story. Don’t change it because someone didn’t like it, change it because you wanted to change it. Feel confident in your decisions about the plot, characters, world, etc. You’ll end up hating what you write if you’re not writing it for yourself.
I hope these tips were helpful! I will be adding one more installment to this series soon so follow my blog or Twitter for updates! If you’re interested in reading some of the short pieces I’ve written, go check out the “My Writing,” page in the menu!