The Art of Accepting Criticism

Most writers would tell you that editing can be rather painful experience. Nothing is worse than getting your manuscript back from your editor, riddled with red marks and comments on inconsistencies and “please revise” or “this is an anachronism” (every historical writer has seen this one). So it becomes a bit of an art not to take these corrections personally, suck it up, and make the suggested changes.

I’ve had times when I physically blushed when reading by editor’s comments. I felt like an idiot incapable of simple fact-checking or a 3rd grader unable to use grammar properly. But with time, however, I admit I’ve gotten better.

When someone points out a flaw in your writing, while yes it sucks to hear, you find yourself consciously avoiding it in future. Be it repetitive words or using characters’ names constantly in the dialogue (which is not how people talk). And don’t get me started on the comma use, or lack of apparently!

I’m so used to editors correcting my technique, it was a welcome change when I received negative feedback about a character and the plot twist. Not my writing but the character that I created who was so unlikeable my editors couldn’t get over him 🙂 So instead of getting all flushed and bothered like I usually do, I laughed good-naturedly at their comments. To imagine that I created a character that inspired so such dislike and anger! I almost wanted to say “my job here is done folks”. I didn’t of course! Instead I took their advice, and rewrote almost half the book, changed the title and took the story in a completely different direction.

The art is not just accepting constructive criticism, but learning from it. With time your skin does get a bit thicker too. After all, what doesn’t make you smash your writing desk or laptop in frustration, makes you a better writer 🙂

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