Food For Thought

Writing is a very personal, intimate process and sharing it with someone requires a lot of courage. You write your best piece, putting into it everything you have: your talent, your life, your dreams and your hopes. You are immensely proud of it. You send it to your family and friends. What comes back is a big surprise: someone doesn’t understand your ideas; someone thinks that the story could have been told better; someone suggests a better usage of words.

It seems no one shares your feelings of delight about your written piece ( a blog post, a short story, a chapter in your book.) You listen to everyone who has something to say – anxiety is building up, frustration is mounting – and you start to wonder if they know so much about writing and blogging, why don’t they sit down and write a blog post themselves.

Finally, after endless discussions, you start to question your writing and wonder if you are wasting your time. It is extremely difficult not to take anything that is being said about your writing personally, especially when it is coming from a family member or a close friend. These people know you the best and can hurt you the most.

As a writer and a blogger you have to acquire a very thick skin, take criticism as food for thought and analyze it. If you take it personally, it will be disturbing and damaging. It will create anxiety. It will ruin your inspiration.

I remember how while writing a short story, I came up with the expression “the ugly spirit of the conversation.” A family member read the chapter, hated the expression, and strongly recommended that I remove it from the text. My natural tendency when given advice that I don’t agree with is to become defensive and emotionally upset. Of course, immediately, I tried to convince the person that they were wrong. We had a heated argument and we both retreated with hurt feelings.

Writing is a form of art. It gives us freedom to create. Even if my expression was awkward, it was of my design. So, “the ugly spirit of the conversation” has stayed untouched for the time being.

Try to dissociate yourself from a person who is giving you his/her opinion and look at criticism as information. Take from it what you consider useful without giving up on your dream. Remember, the writing is yours. Don’t give up your ideas or your style. Don’t give up your freedom to create. Most importantly, don’t give up your ownership. Not everyone will like what you write. Not everyone will understand it. But ultimately everyone will have something to say.

How do you deal with criticism?

7 thoughts on “Food For Thought

  1. eemusings

    Become a journalist.

    I really don’t know. You need a certain amount of confidence in your work and yourself. And a safe environment in which to practice accepting constructive criticism. Perhaps a writing workshop or something along those lines?

    1. Aloysa

      It is true, you have to have confidence in what you write. Otherwise, it will be impossible to share your writing with anyone else.

  2. Lindy Mint

    I think how I take criticism depends on my mood when I receive it, which isn’t very predictable. There are times I get upset and take it personally. There are other times when my confidence in what I am doing is strong enough it doesn’t sway me. And sometimes I realize the criticism is right and take their advice…but that’s usually after I’ve had time to calm down.

    1. Aloysa

      My mood sometimes defines a lot of things. I think we all somewhat depend on our mood and stress level.

  3. The Biz of Life

    Criticism focused in the right way can be the catalyst that drives higher achievement. But you also have to be aware enough and in control of your emotions to separate out the criticism worth listening to from the crap not worth listening to.

  4. Invest It Wisely

    You can’t please everyone and you won’t. I suffer from this sometimes myself, but it’s helpful to remember that being so easily swayed means that you are too personally attached to your own sense of ego. An ego that takes everything personally is like wood… it is hard and rigid, and can be cut down by criticism. Try to have an ego that is like water or wind… it moves around the criticism instead of being hacked down by it. You can’t cut water or wind with a sword.

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