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Blog Tips

How To Handle Criticism As A Creative

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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.

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.

You can:
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?

  1. Wondering why people are such jerks. You will never figure that one out.
  2. Quitting. Hey not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone else, do you?
  3. 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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8 Comments

  • Alexis says:

    Great post, I can totally relate, especially at the panic about notifications at times. Wonderful advice, thank you!

  • This was brilliant and a huge boost for me right now as I’m just starting in this blogging world. Thank you for your honest words and encouragement that getting a negative comment isn’t the end of the world.

  • Orsi says:

    I love this so much! This is so true, I have had so many bad days because of people who didn’t even care what my writing was about, they just wanted to be rude. And of course these people are mostly not showing their real names or actual selves. I think it is normal to be sad about those comments but I just have to learn to get over them quicker and not dwell for weeks. Focus on all the positive responses and people that enjoy our writing. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Kimberly says:

    I wish we could relish in the positives and not even give a hoot about any negatives. Weird how our brains aren’t wired that way.

  • Pam says:

    I can absolutely relate to this post! I had those feelings when I first started blogging in 2010 and in 2017 when I opened my Etsy shop. I have had 3 trolls visit my blog in the last year and those comments were deleted. I’m not going to waste my time with trolls. You really can tell when someone is coming from a constructive angle as opposed to a mean one. Great post!

  • Kavya sharma says:

    Wow! These are the amazing tips to handle the criticism. I really glad to read your post. it very knowledgeable post. Thanks for sharing

  • Rohan says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post. Really nice post.

  • Laura says:

    Hey Laina,

    I just wanted to thank you for your inspiring article.

    While I was sipping at my coffee and reading your words, I kept nodding a lot.
    I’m not a fulltime creative entrepreneur, but after my daytime job I am writing novels and a blog.
    I know how all about the racing heart, the sweaty palms and the lump in your throat, when someone commented on the blog or left an amazon review. I think it’s because, as writers, we put ourselves out there, for everyone to see. Sometimes I suppose that many people don’t understand how personal writing can be. Everything I’ve written contains pieces of my heart and soul (especially the novels), no matter how pathetic that sounds.

    I’ve had awesome reviews and even more positive feedback on my first novel in 2015. I was so proud (and still am!), but one day, I’ve received an eMail. Someone (it was anonymous, of course) took the time to write a message to me, just to say how awful my book was. What a waste of precious lifetime the reading experience was.
    I know that it was not meant to be constructive criticism, but it felt like someone was punching me in the face. I didn’t answer. I deleted the message and did some A – C + D. But I still remember how it felt, despite all the positive feedback that’s still finding its’ way into my inbox.

    Yes – as a writer, I am scared of criticism. But that’s the thing, right? We are scared, but we’ll do it anyway, because we love it so much.

    Keep up the great work.
    xoxo