One of the hardest things you have to do as a creative — whether you’re a blogger, writer, or designer — is figuring out how to handle criticism. It’s inevitable. There will be someone out there who will hate everything we do and be very vocal about it.
And let’s be honest, no one likes criticism. NO ONE!
I know when I hit publish on my very first post a million years ago (ok, just back in 2009) I was terrified.
I didn’t want to let anyone see it beforehand much less when it went out to the world. What if people thought it was crap and said I should give up my dream of being a writer?
But I knew that I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to make a go of this. You can’t make a living as a creative if you don’t put your creations out there for people to see. You have to learn how to handle criticism.
How To Handle Criticism As A Creative
When I first started, I used to see the comment notification email come in, or saw that someone posted an Amazon review on one of my books, and I would immediately panic. I’d get cold sweats, and want to quit and go work at Starbucks rather than look at what someone said about what I wrote. I’d have to pour a glass (or 3) of wine and work up my courage to actually read the comment.
I’d like to say I’ve grown a thick skin and don’t care anymore what people say, but if I did, I’d be lying. Negative comments still hurt. I welcome feedback because it’s invaluable to improving my writing, but unfortunately, there are too many mean people out there who aren’t trying to come from a good place. They just want to be mean and don’t care about being constructive. And no one improves or learns from negativity.
You know the whole, “if you can’t say something nice then don’t say it at all” thing? More people should adhere to that. When you get that negative piece of feedback, whether spiteful or well-intended, you have a few options.
A – Cry in a corner.
B – Drink a bottle of wine to forget.
C – Eat a cheesecake or a bag of Kit Kats. Oreos will work, too, in a pinch.
D – You can look at it objectively. Take whatever is valuable from the criticism (if there’s is anything), file it away for future use, and move on.
E – any combination of A – C + D.
I usually pick E. I think it’s the healthiest, though I’m not sure my boot camp instructor would agree. She’s not a fan of eating feelings. But you have to get that sadness, that anxiety, that anger out and THEN be willing and open to taking the feedback.
What is a waste of time when dealing with criticism?
- Wondering why people are such jerks. You will never figure that one out.
- Quitting. Hey not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone else, do you?
- Having a pity party that lasts more than a few hours. Yes, take time to wallow, but then pick yourself back up and get on with it. Life isn’t rainbows and unicorns all the time. Being a creative entrepreneur even less.
The best way to get better at your craft and shut up the Negative Nancy’s is to KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING! The more you write, the better you’ll get. Don’t let anyone deter you from your dream.
Besides, as bad as a negative comment can hurt, the positive comments make it all worth it.
I challenge you to go boost someone up today with a positive comment. You never know it may be all that’s needed to stop them from wallowing and quitting!
Author Bio Bio: Laina Turner
Laina Turner is an author and blogger. She is passionate about helping people reach their writing dreams.
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