Wednesday, April 13, 2011

6 Tips for Dealing with Criticism

Getting criticized is a crucial part of the creative process - and yeah, it bites. When a writing student called me in a complete tailspin over a critique she received (from someone else, mind you), here are the tips I used to unspin her tail:

1) Welcome it: Keep telling yourself, "Hearing this will make my piece better. I want to know what doesn't work."

2) Consider it: Is there truth in what they're saying? If it bugs you a lot, it might.

3) Analyze it: Does it remind you of some age-old criticism? It could be bringing up the curtain on a psychodrama that has nothing to do with your work.

4) Question it: It's possible this person's perspective and biases aren't valid. Even with the best intentions, people have their blind spots.

5) Table it: Wait for an aggregate opinion and see what's the consensus. If you're getting the same note from multiple sources, go back to step #1.

6) Fix it: Sometimes the issue is systemic and requires a radical overhaul and sometimes you change one simple thing and everything falls into place. You won't know until you try.

Oh, and don't forget to breathe. Criticism won't kill you, but not breathing will.

Okay, back to work...

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