Dealing with Rejection and Criticism as a Writer

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. 

5 Ways to Use a Ghostwriter You May Not Have Considered

ghostwriter
a ghostwriter isn’t as creepy as it sounds

Several people have a ghostwriter to help them create written content, (including these 6 authors). As their name suggests, ghostwriters aren’t usually well known, nor are the extent of their ghostwriting services. Who uses them, and why they do, may surprise you. I’d like to share some of the ways I’ve worked with clients so you better understand what ghostwriters do. Whether penning a book, website content, or written collateral, a ghostwrite can help!

When English Is Difficult

The first book that I was hired to ghostwrite was for a bi-lingual client where English was his second language. I interviewed him and used recorded speeches to illustrate and explain the concepts and teachings of the Buddhist faith. He wasn’t confident about writing in English, even though he spoke it well. He had a large following, so ghostwriting made the most sense for him.

Other clients have come to me because they have a learning or other disability or have a traumatic brain injury. Clients who didn’t do well in English class are also on this list as they find it difficult to communicate in written form.

New Product Launch Content

I was contracted to write content about new product launches on a few occasions. Because the product was innovative and not yet a tangible product, I had to explain what it was, how it was intended to work, why it came into existence. Just like the new product needed to be created, so did all the written collateral, as there was nothing to research about it. Of course, research existed around the WHY of the product, but not the product itself. Ghostwriters are skilled at both research and creating compelling content.

Client Stories / Testimonials / Storytelling Marketing

Client stories are a form of testimonial – they follow the full story of a client from their problem to the solution. The great benefit of using client stories is that it really helps potential clients identify themselves to the other clients or customers, and help them visualize themselves as a client. They are very effective and engaging.

A ghostwriter can interview clients to create quality stories that capture the interest of others.

Articles

Articles can be created based on interviews, research, and content that has already been created such as blogs, videos, podcasts, and presentations. These articles can be submitted to trade journals, magazines, and online publications your target audience reads, or even used as a marketing piece at events.

Digital Materials

Web designers are one of my largest referring sources, hiring me to write website content for clients who don’t have the time, skill, or marketing understanding to do it themselves. Digital materials include blogs and social media posts or articles, guest blogs, whitepapers, downloadable products and more. Digital materials need to be very customer focused, but also capitalize on Search Engine keywords.

 

Next time you have a project that requires writing, or if you simply haven’t taken on an opportunity because it does, consider the help of a ghostwriter. A fair ghostwriter will provide you with an upfront quote and have references from former clients and projects they have done. Finding the right ghostwriter is important as well, so let’s schedule a free consultation to determine if I, or someone on my team, is a good fit.

The Pros and Cons of Critique Groups

critique groups

Critique groups have somewhat dissolved over the years as online formats for sharing writing have become more accessible. However, they still play an important role in the process of writing for publication. Sadly, some can cause more harm than good – here are the pro’s and con’s to consider before joining one. 

What are Critique Groups? 

A critique group is a group of writers who are looking for peer support through the constructive criticism of their written pieces. There are often guidelines and/or procedures for participating in a critique group that may include having already been published, limited work to a specific genre(s), page count limits (including the font type, size, margins, etc.), and frequency of sharing and/or critiques. It is important to remember that any valid critique group will follow guidelines allowing for true constructive criticisms. Critiques are not about shaming or degrading authors.  

The Pros and Cons of Critique Groups 

Pro: Critique groups often are made up of people from many different backgrounds, creating a mini cross-section of society. This diversity brings more insight into what you have written. Without the critique group, you may have not had access to such diversity. You never know who may be helping you become a better writer with their insight. Someone who understands a particular character’s struggle first hand, ethnic sensitivities, you may even have a previously published writer reviewing your manuscript. 

Con: This may also mean that you have inexperienced writers reviewing your work who won’t catch errors. The diverse group may also include someone really doesn’t like or understand your style or genre. Lack of understanding and/or the dislike of a specific writing style tends to make one too harsh to offer value, or they may even be completely ineffective as a reader. 

Pro: Critique groups are generally inexpensive to join. Often times a free group can be found quite easily. 

Con: Attendance can be irregular at best. What this means for you the writer is someone who took your submission at the last meeting may not be at the next meeting to give feedback. Allowing the manuscript to be read at the meeting is a way some groups have squelched this problem. I, however, don’t feel this gives the reader enough time with the work to really dive in. I found hearing someone read their work made it harder for me to critique. This is probably the case for anyone who is a visual, as opposed to an auditory, learner. This lack of attendance can also mean a reader may only be seeing your chapters out of order, only creating more chaos. 

Con: In regards to online critique groups, I find many readers don’t fulfill their requirements. This leads to an imbalance as you, the reader, end up doing more critiques than you yourself are receiving. Then, of the feedback you do receive, you often find readers who are unhelpful in their feedback and/or the process takes so long at times you question if it’s worth it. 

So, What’s the Solution? 

There is no cut and dry answer to this. The solution depends on your desired outcome. If you are wanting a critique group, as yourself why. Make a list of what you want to get out of it and then look specifically for those things – you’d be surprised what you find online when you are really clear. It may mean working with a professional, attending a workshop or signing up for a class. There are also online forums, but again, make sure they match your desired outcome and don’t have you spending all your time critiquing other’s work rather than working on your own project. 

Because I have found some writing groups to be more harm than good, I decided to put together a writing group that takes all the best components of a critique group and leaves out the harsh and ineffective feedback process. Contact me HERE to learn more.