Saturday, July 23, 2011

Combat Criticism

One haunting question that writers have is, how do I withstand and rise above criticism. Criticism comes in all kinds of forms. It can come from a family member who doesn’t think you’ve got what it takes. It can come from a reader who is offended by or doesn’t like your subject matter. It can come in the guise of a critic who challenges your writing style. It can even come from an editor or agent who questions your skill.
Developing a thick skin is not the solution. One cannot become impervious to negative feedback. The real coping skill comes from understanding criticism and embracing it.
Family members do not always have it in them to recognize you as a writer until you’ve already become successful, or persevered. You are the only one can know whether you are a wannabe writer or not.
Getting past the armchair critic takes only a keen ear. These critics don’t have the writing skill necessary to offer any depth to their ideas. They usually hate your writing or love it. Neither of these positions is helpful to the writer if there is no solid reasoning to back it. The hater is easier to deal with because we naturally want to ignore groundless negative criticism, as it should be. But we should also ignore the armchair critic who praises without substance. As nice as it is to hear an ‘at-a-boy’, what use is it if it carries no substance?
Good criticism contains an element of reason. Since writing is all about reason, writers should be able to listen to criticism and judge the value of it. If a writer validates a particular point of view, then heeding that perspective can only strengthen a project and therefore improve a writer’s skill.
Listen with your own critical ear and act accordingly.

1 comment:

Mmarie said...

Mr. Wallace, this is an excellent article and one most writers need to take to heart.

Criticism is seen as a negative when, in fact, it is a learning tool. We hope that we grow in all we do, be it wrting, music, or living a purposeful life so it that vein, criticism is a positive influence.