No matter what kind of artist you are—painter, sculptor, animator, musician, and, of course, writer—you’re going to receive criticism at some point in your career. In fact, you’re going to receive criticism as long as you are creating something that is subjective to each individual who crosses the path of your works. I’m not going to lie, the criticism is going to hurt, and sometimes it’s going to hurt so badly you’ll question what you’re doing and even consider quitting. There are some talented artists out there who have quit due to someone else’s critical remarks.
I’m not here to tell you that the criticism is going to magically disappear someday, or that everyone will come to know the genius of your work in time, because that simply isn’t the case. You, my friend, are an artist, and as such that title comes with certain harsh realities. With the possibility of great success there is also the possibility of great failure—you’ve just got to learn how to pick yourself up after you’ve been knocked down.
So, how do you, a talent artist, take other people’s negative comments about your work in stride? Understand that what you do is subjective to the tastes of others—some people may love your work and others may hate it. That’s art. I know it’s difficult, but you can’t let yourself be discouraged by the opinions of others.
So you found someone who hates your work; you’ll find ten others who’ll think it’s absolutely brilliant. You’ve just got to keep on keeping on and you’ll find people who will appreciate your hard work.
Once you get the hang of it, sloughing off negative comments about your work becomes easy; however, there is a certain type of criticism that one should not take so lightly. It’s not much of a punch line after the bold heading above, but what I’m talking about is constructive criticism. Speaking as an author who has gone through the editing process twice, it’s sometimes difficult to be told “I don’t like when your character does this” or “this part really slowed down the story and made it less interesting”.
Ugh! My poor heart!
But again, even suggested content edits are subjective. One person may really like a scene, while another person may think it slows down the pace of the book. If you don’t completely agree with the constructive criticism being offered, get the opinions of others. My rule is, if I hear the same piece of constructive criticism from two different people, I consider changing it. If I hear the same piece of constructive criticism from more than two people, I will change it.
Remember, first and foremost, constructive criticism is not meant to discourage you, it’s meant to help you improve. Take what you learn and apply it to make your writing even more awesome than it already is—you’ll be surprised at how much your stories will improve once you do!
As far as mean comments go, ignore them. “Haters gonna hate”, as they say. Never let anyone discourage you from doing the things that you love because there are people out there who will appreciate your tireless efforts—all you have to do is keep working hard and never give up! On a less cheesy note, you’re haters are going to feel really stupid about dissing you once you’re rich and famous.