Tag Archives: criticism

How I Deal With Criticism

The following is a guest post by Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers saving, spending, and the fun stuff along the way.

Aloysa recently wrote a post, Food For Thought, about criticism as it pertains to writing and her natural reaction to it. It caught my interest because some of her experiences were so close to some of my own.


She first mentioned that moment when you finish a great piece only to find out that not everyone thinks it’s as amazing as you believed.

I don’t know how many times I type up a post with a huge smile on my face since, to me, the post has heart, is interesting, and will wow their socks off. Then I’ll type up a quick commentary piece -something I like but don’t actually expect to see really build any momentum.

The self-proclaimed uber-post will inevitably be my least popular post of the week. The fluff piece will have the most comments, links, and praise. This was a downer for me in the beginning until I saw the humor in the situation…

People appreciate controversy and opinions just as much or more than 100% original personal posts. It’s the way of the world and it makes me smile. I post everyday at BFS, 3-4 times a week at my other two blogs, staff write every Wednesday, and write guest posts every week or two as well. Commentary is way easier and faster for me to write than the heartfelt personal stories. This means that I can please my audience with a ton of faster posts while throwing my artsy posts in as well. That lets you enjoy yourself and allows me an artistic outlet at the same time. We just can’t beat that, right? :-)

Response to Criticism

Aloysa also mentions that she reacts defensively when her writing is criticized and she doesn’t agree. I think that is human nature. I am 27 years old and can control my emotions way better than in my teens, but I am light years from not being defensive when something I thought was awesome is “attacked”.

I’ve learned to hide that reaction a bit, but it is still there. My first response is almost always to think the other person is smoking mushrooms or something. They must be wrong because I’m obviously right. Then I remember that I am only the center of the world in my own head and try to keep myself from calling them names. It works 99% of the time. ;-)

Learning to Listen

I think this part of Aloysa’s post was dead on, “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.”

I’d only add that some of my most interesting conversations happened when I took the time to really listen to criticism and replied logically. A few times, I’ve been completely correct. Sometimes they are. Most of the time, we are both right about our own opinions and just didn’t think about it like that before. That whole “agreeing to disagree” thing is a cliché for a reason. :-)

What do you think? Have you found a way to deal with criticism in a constructive manner?

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?