About a month ago I had a former editor publicly blast one of my blogs. She said it was poorly written and cited some specific areas that concerned her. She concluded that no one should work with me because as she felt it was poorly written, I couldn’t possibly help someone else write anything on a professional level. Despite her opinion, my business continued to thrive. This isn’t the first time I’ve been criticized as a writer, however.
Once, in a writing group, I was told an autobiographical story I had written was “a bunch of junk.” I had played with the style of writing from a frantic stream of consciousness. I felt the style was fitting as the story recounted a terrifying experience I went through. In the end, I rewrote it in a more traditional style and it was published in an anthology of women’s writers. It sold several thousand copies.
It’s not just my writing that has been criticized. Just like everyone else, I’ve been criticized personally. Although criticism from others on all levels is difficult to deal with, no one is a harder on me than me… as is probably the case for you as well. So, how do we as writers deal with rejection?
Solutions for Dealing with Rejection and Criticism as a Writer
First, know that both crappy writers and successful writers have always, and will continue to face criticism. Sometimes published writers write poorly and still make money – lots of money. In some cases, they are even able to sell their story to a production company that then turns it into a movie. And as they are critically bashed, again and again, I wonder, are they kicking themselves for not taking just one more writing workshop? Wishing they had hired a good editor? Or are they joyfully ordering another Pina Colada, disinterested in, or perhaps oblivious to, the criticism.
Do It Anyway. No matter who you are, you will be criticized as long as you are putting yourself out there. But what is important to remember is you ARE putting yourself out there. That’s a huge step as an author. It is entirely your choice if 1) you let others read your writing, 2) if you care what they think, and 3) if you continue to share your work anyway. I encourage you to be brave but to start with those you trust. I personally would suggest reaching out to a writing professional. I am not saying this as a writing coach looking for a client, I am speaking as a writer who has seen too many people with stories to tell become discouraged by others who give unprofessional, sometimes unsolicited opinions.
You Are Good Enough. There are no credentials to being a writer other than the fact that you write. There are plenty of writers with English degrees and no ability to connect to their readers. I have Journalism majors contact me in tears because they couldn’t finish an article. I’ve had 13-year-old students who believed their novels would rival those of John Greene. It was ALL related to confidence or lack thereof. Build your skills in ways that are best for you… then BELIEVE you have those skills and write. You are a writer after all.
Get Support. Join a safe writing community who values excellence. Read my blog on critique groups HERE. A safe writing community understands how hard the art and craft of writing can be. They understand how vulnerable you become when you share your story. A supportive critique group will offer constructive criticism, not bash you.
Don’t Take it Personal. Finally, understand rejection is part of the writing process. There were times I received rejection letters faster than I felt the piece could be read, but I just kept writing and submitting. Writing is art and if you don’t want to get discouraged, you need to be a writer who doesn’t take rejection personally. If you succeed in doing this, please tell me how.
Receiving support from a writing coach and/or positive writing community can help you brush off rejection and criticism with more ease. If I can ever be of help in this capacity, let me know. I offer a range of services designed for all levels of writers and their goals. Contact me HERE for a free consultation.