Since I began writing seriously ten years ago, there have been a few notable breaks from the writing for me. Two had to do with pregnancies and childbirth, a third was related to insane stress and unusual living circumstances, and the others were writing related. Critiques. I can take a rejection from an editor much easier than I can take a harsh critique. Twice now, I’ve received critiques that have sent me running (screaming) from writing. The critiques were not wrong, I just wasn’t ready to understand them and put them to use. They intimitdated me from my writing, cropping up doubts in my ability, giving power to self-pity.
I have two stories out for critique right now. One came back with numerous and consisten comments on what worked and what didn’t, with comments citing disapointment in the outcome compared to a promise in the beginning, paths in the story that didn’t get addressed, some grammar issues. These were presented in a manner in which I digested them easily. They were learning-worthy. I love those kind of crits.
But my other story received a crit in a very different fashion: the kind that usually sends me running. With comments such as “poorly written” and “hated it” beginning the crit, it took me two hours of repeated attempts to get past such cold comments to get to the points this critiquer had made. One some counts, I agree with some of the issues, on others- I don’t. But I fought with it. Grappled with it.
Unneccessarily, perhaps. Because in the end, it’s feedback and I can do with it what I want. But that doesn’t stop the sting of someone hating what I’ve created.
I have to remind myself that if I want a career as a writer, there will always be someone who hates what I create. Many someones.
This guy gave me feedback that I asked for, and while it isn’t in the warm-fuzzy-learning-joy kind of critique, it’s still a critique with points I can use to better my story. To the extent he wants? Probably not. It’s my story. I’ll pick. I’ll choose. And I’ll learn what I can.
What do YOU do with crits you struggle with, right or wrong?