Criticism is that devilish poison that can be constructive or destructive and both have a hefty impact. Learning to accept and learn from criticism can be one of the hardest things to do.
When it comes to writing. This is a very delicate process. The opening bud of a tiny flower that is suddenly stomped on by the harsh words of a colleague, friend or acquaintance. No wonder some find it impossible to move on when they’re weeping over the destroyed essence of what they thought was beautiful. Meanwhile the bystanders are looking down at the prickly thistle and wondering what all the fuss is about.
Learning to use criticism can be the hardest road of all so here’s six little tips to help.
- See both sides
Criticism is often two-way. As demonstrated in my flower scene above, criticism can often be misconstrued when you’re unwilling to accept that a third party may be able to see a clearer picture. Some people may not have the necessary tact to deliver this news kindly so it’s up to you to take it like the battle-worn warrior you are.
- Personal preference
All criticism is personal preference so don’t take it to heart. One person might criticise your work and another might praise it. Don’t take all criticism as the gospel truth but just apply a pinch of salt. If you genuinely think a comment is not worth listening to, then don’t.
When you receive criticism for your work, it’s not necessarily a reflection of your character but the work you’ve produced. So it’s important to not get defensive, chances are they’re not trying to upset you but help you reach your potential.
Criticism isn’t the end of the line. In fact it’s a challenge, an opportunity to learn and develop as a person so the next project comes out a step ahead of this one. Don’t just give up but embrace and apply the criticism to the best of your abilities.
Don’t take on all criticism in a trusting a reliable way. After all you wouldn’t let anyone get in your car. Filter what you receive. Take out the ones that are talking rubbish, take out the ones that are a little personal and see what you’re left with. What you first saw as a minefield will turn out to be some little speedbumps.
- It’s just data
It’s always important to be detached from criticism. Easier said than done, I know. But at the end of the day it’s just a collection of data. By treating the criticism as data. You’re in a better position to analyse its worth and assess how to use it.
As you can see, criticism isn’t the end of the world, actually far from it. By adopting a new mind-set and approach to the criticism you receive, you will be able to find yourself leaping forwards instead of shuffling. I myself crave criticism and the harsher the better. I can’t be doing with people that go easy in case they hurt your feelings. It’s time to toughen up and understand that becoming better may be hard but the road to getting there just became a little easier.