First, I'd like to thank all the indie authors, thus far, who have contacted me and expressed their interest in my new website featuring our work on WRITE ON! It is really taking off, and I can't thank you enough. Keep those contacts going. I have several authors lined up for the coming weeks, and if you'd like to be featured, please review the "Author SPOTLIGHT" tab at the top of this blog.
Now, what I really want to blog about today is something I've been seeing on many blogs and social media networks and that's how to deal with negative criticism. Before I get into how I handle that, it's important for me to advise that criticism is a necessary evil, if you will, and it helps us to expand and grow artistically.
Of course, no matter what your talent is, which I truly believe each and every human has something special and unique they do, there are going to be those who enjoy the work you do and there are going to be those who absolutely hate it, and you know what, IT'S OK! Since I believe in keeping it real, I'm not going to sugarcoat what I'm about to outline here.
Criticism is never a pleasant experience. I don't know anyone who loves being criticized. Have you ever seen a person who developed a project and say, "hey, talk about it all you want?" Aaah, no, so criticism is hard to accept, but it's something we must learn to deal with.
When I first wrote Mello & June, not every review I received was glowing. I had some people who said it was too graphic (the love scenes, that is), and it turned them off. I was told that I shouldn't have made the love scenes so detailed between my main characters. I immediately got agitated by those who made these comments because I'm like is the sex all they saw in this story? My whole problem with those critiques was that I work hard to always give my stories a powerful message for my readers to come away with, but not everyone saw the story that way.
Then I had those who said they absolutely loved the love scenes and liked that it felt real. The point I'm trying to make to you is, again, some loved what Mello & June was about, and others didn't. Instead of getting into a debate with these not-so-glowing reviews, I thanked them for their honesty and for reading my book. Sure, I could have said what the hell is wrong with you, don't you know how hard it was for me to write this book, and how many countless hours I spent writing an actual storyline, and the story wasn't about sex, there were only three love scenes in the entire book, but instead, I just chilled, which is what anyone calling themselves an author should do. You should NEVER speak nasty to any reader and go off on that individual because they didn't agree with something you've written. No respectable author would ever behave in that manner.
What you should be asking yourself when you receive a not-so-glowing review is: Is there any truth to what the reviewer stated? Is there something I can learn from the criticism? For me, those are the first two questions I ask myself when I receive negative criticism. And truth be told, I did learn something from those critiques, which is why my writing in, SILENT KNIGHT, was stronger. Plus, the more you write, the better you should become, which is with anything you're fine tuning.
The bottom line is every author wants every reader to love his work, but the truth of the matter is, everyone isn't going to like what you write, and you have to be happy with the work product you produced and learn to move on from it. There are some reviewers who are extremely harsh and knit-pick every single sentence you write, and some will go as far as to attack the author personally. Unfortunately, I've dealt with that type of criticism too, and again, when I receive those types of negative comments, I ignore them. What I find is many reviewers, or those who consider themselves a reviewer, secretly wish they could do the very thing it is you're doing, and that's writing. Not all reviewers behave in this manner, but you will run across a few, and again, it's okay. Ask yourself if their critique has any merit, and if it doesn't, do not allow those types of critiques to rent space in your memory bank. Never allow a negative response from a reviewer to erect a building on your real estate (your mind). Take what you need, if you find you need it, and if not, keep it moving.
I have had a few young authors ask me about how to deal with criticism, and I hope my answer suits them. Everyone judges the work of others, that's what makes the world go around. You must always stay true to yourself and what you stand for and never allow others, sometimes bad behavior, determine how you are to respond. No matter what, negative or positive, you must stick with writing. I mention that all the time. You may never quit, because that is not what real writers do. If you stop writing based on a few negative responses, you were never a writer to begin with, and, you will never perfect your writing. The only way you will get better is to keep on writing. Practice makes perfect, something my mother has instilled in me ever since I was able to comprehend what that meant. Never, ever, ever give up! And that not only applies to writers, but to anyone with a dream they want to see become a reality!
Remember, the only thing standing in your way. . .is standing in your way! And when you allow others to take the lead over you, you'll always be second best! Stay focused and keep on point with your goals. You can do whatever your heart desires, but you've got to get it together and just do it! As always, much love, my fellow and future authors, and WRITE ON! writers.
|Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet|
Web Mistress of WRITE ON! http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz/
WRITE ON!'s Blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com/