We are egocentric people. We love to hear the phrases "well done" "that's amazing" "that's the best book I've ever readâ¦picture I've ever seenâ¦song I've ever heard." We strive to be the best; it is drummed into our heads. We celebrate outstanding achievers and give cursory attention to those who have not excelled. We all want that coveted first place. But how will you handle it if you are given a bad critique for your work? Do you fly off the handle and blame the critic of being biased? Cry for a while and then with expletive laden shouting throw your work in the waste bin? Plot intricate and evil ways to bring down the critic?
If you are creative and your creation is offered for the world to see and to be judged, you will be criticised. Hear are some common sense suggestions to handle bad critique.
- Do not assume that the critic is attacking you personally. They are just assessing your work. While there might be the odd case of a critic knowing the author of the work and might be on a vendetta to denounce them to the world, the fact is that, critics are usually analysing what you have written. It might be hard to separate yourself from your work in your mind but don't get it twisted, take the criticism in the spirit in which it was meant.
- Assess whether the criticism was done in a balanced manner. The truth is that not all critics are created equal some are more acerbic than others. Take for example the assessment of a fictional book entitled Rainy Skies.
Critic A's take on the book was "Rainy Skies was an interesting take on a grieving widow's life. The opening chapters were dark and emotionally draining. The reader had to plough through these chapters with the utmost patience in order to reach the brilliant end."
Critic B's take on the book was: " The title of the book was indicative of the way this book was going to turn out. By Chapter two I felt sad and weepy. Not because of the emotional wrangling in the book but because I spent my hard earned money to buy it. I was so battered with a dull storyline in the front to middle part of the work that the final chapters were a blur"
Critic A's assessment though not overwhelmingly positive gave a balanced perspective. So choose who you listen to carefully before you become completely demoralised.
- Not all critically acclaimed works do well commercially. Your critics might not be a good sample of your target market. So take the advice about your misspellings and comma placements but do not change your storyline if you are confident that there is a market that will read your work. You might be a pioneer or the harbinger of a new genre.
- Go ahead and cry. Your work will never please everyone no matter how good you are. So let it all out. Remember that the bestselling book of all time is the Bible and even that book has been heavily criticised and rejected. After you dry your tears, get back to work taking the good points from the suggestions put forward.