At one writing meeting I was told repeatedly about this new member who was amazing at critique their works. I was excited. While I had nothing to present this was still a win win.
The meeting began and this member showed up and sat down while everyone tried to engage with him. After a few moments to chit chat we started. The first presenter read a few pages of their manuscript. Starting with the person next to them the critiquing began. The highs and lows were discussed as we went around the table.
It was this member’s turn to speak. And spoke he did. He spent a lot of time tearing down what was wrong and smiling as he did it. He didn’t mention one thing this writer had done right. Instead he basically gave a laundry list of what they did wrong. Looking around the table it seems people were appreciating his brutal honest.
I did not. The face of the writer I could not really decipher.
Sadly there are people who relish in tearing down a person’s work and label it critiquing. For some reason my group translated this as wonderful. I translated it as someone who enjoyed tearing people’s work while feeling their work is amazing.
When it came to my turn I gave the writer three things that she had done well. I told her that one of the critiques she had received from the member could be readily fix and not as extensive as first describe.
Her smile was worth it. When I critique I always give positive and negative. Don’t get me wrong I will be honest when I give a review. But it can be done in a way that is constructive not destructive.
Writing, as anything else, is subjective to criticism. People will have no problem telling you that your writings are anything but awesome. If you don’t believe me just go to Amazon and check out reviews of their books, clothes, kitchen appliances and a host of other items.
When my first book came out I had a 1 star rating on it. The only thing is the person said they were reviewing the physical copy. With the book being released on the 13th and if they purchased the book on that day and use 2 day delivery they would have gotten it the 15th. However they found a way to read it as it was being delivered to them and reviewed it on the 14th.
I thought that was rather skillful to read it on route. After talking to Amazon and explaining how this was not possible they removed the review. The same person placed it two or three more times and Amazon removed it each time especially since the person insisted they had purchased a physical copy of it.
You will find people like this regardless of what your product is. And still not everyone will like what you are peddling. Some are nice about it while others want to turn that screwdriver into your skin slowly. Tough skin. We have to have it as writers. Not just through reviews online but through our writing groups or anyone you share your piece with to get their opinion on.
If you don’t have it than be prepared for tears, frustrations, questioning yourself as a writer and in some cases drop what you are doing whether that be for a little bit or once and for all.
Buckle up, it will happen, but stay the course. Also, don’t forget, we all been there and know what it feels like.