How are you at handling criticism? More specifically, criticism about your writing. I will be honest, I am not one who handles criticism well, especially criticism about my writing. I think it all stems from the dreaded red pen. All those red marks always made me feel as if my writing was not good enough. I know those red marks were there to help my writing, but I was young and took it personally. When my critique partners started to critique my picture book manuscripts, minus the red pen, I still felt it was personal. Thanks for the feedback was not in my vocabulary then.
Now I am in a better place when it comes to receiving feedback on my writing. It took me a while, but here is some advice that has helped me.
Do Not Take It Personally
The person is not criticizing you — they’re commenting on your writing. You need to separate yourself from your writing. The writing is what you have created. Take a deep breath and try not to take the comments personally. It is easier said than done. I often need to remind myself that my critique partners are support team. Their comments are there to help me strengthen my writing.
The Reader is the Critic
You are writing for your readers — so their comments reflect the reader’s view, which makes the comments useful. I try to listen carefully to their reviews or criticism. Listening to different points of view have been very useful to my writing.
Use More Critics
If you have a hard time accepting criticism like me, try getting comments from more writers. I found it easier to accept criticism the more I had other writers read my manuscript. It also helps when several people tell you the same thing. I just had that with a story I am working on. Two of the three writers pointed to the same section for development.
Don’t Feel You Need to Accept Every Criticism or Suggestion
There will be times when your critics are wrong — or have a different view from you. Some of the suggestions will take your story in a direction that you do not want it to go. Remember it is your story and you should tell it they way you want. One challenge for me is when I try to incorporate all of their ideas. Their ideas are often good ones and I will make every attempt to incorporate them only to find out that the story has lost its focus.
Be Sure to Thank Your Critics
I know this is hard, particularly if the criticisms are harsh or when you do not agree with their criticism. Think of it as extra help. Effective criticism, even if it’s hard to take, will make you a better writer. Now you can say, Thanks for the Feedback and learn from the experience.
More About Critiques
If you would like to learn more about Picture Book Critiques, you can find my blog post here.
I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
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