Criticism; And what to do with it

Receiving criticism, emerging writers diary, writingCriticism.  I always knew it was coming.  Every writer, every writing book and everyone tried to prepare me for it.  I have been writing full time for about a year now.  I have been posting content on this, and another site regularly for a long time.  Mostly I have received quite positive feedback, but nothing could prepare me for the wave of nausea and doubt that puled the floor from under me, when I posted an particular article a little while ago.

Over the last year I have learnt a great deal and have loved watching my skills progress – slowly but surely.  I am proud of how far I have come and I am excited for the future… But when I received messages like this one – I had to wonder ‘What the hell was I doing?’ 

Nothing can prepare you for the first time you put your work out there and you receive a barrage of negative, or should I say ‘constructive criticism’.  Logically you know how to handle it, but emotionally and physically, you can’t help reacting.

Receiving Criticism, emerging writers, The emerging writers diary
From Reddit

You might be thinking this comment is is not that bad.  Well, there was a lot more than this. This comment was the best of it.

What is the worst part in all of this, is that they are right!  I am wondering if I am just not good enough to be a writer.

So what do you do with Criticism?
  1. Receiving Critcism, emerging writers, the emerging writers diaryFirstly you need to make two columns on a blank piece of paper, for sorting out your criticism into two categories
  2. Title those two categories as follows – Bullshit Hater Nonsense – & – Helpful Tips Just Worded Badly

After the initial shock, or receiving criticism, start to sort through it.  Which catagory does it fall into?  It is just Bullshit Hater Nonsense?  Or is there a Helpful Tip in there that has just been worded very badly?  Either it is wrong – and you can fuck them off – or it is right and you have the chance to learn, change and improve.

Because of the messages I received about my grammar, I went straight to the shops and brought the little Green Grammar Book and started to read it.  Wow, I still have so much to learn about writing, but that’s ok.

Why Criticism is Great!

Having your writing criticised is the best thing that can happen to you.  It means you’re a writer.  Every writing student will go through this at one point or another.  It is a right of passage through to the other side – Professional writing.  

  1. You are brave enough to put your writing out there.
  2. You are working as a writer.
  3. People are engaged enough in reading your work to respond to it.
  4. You are engaged enough with your audience to hear any criticisms.
  5. You have the chance to learn something fantastic from it.
  6. You have the chance to reaffirm your writing style and your voice.
  7. You are more advanced than every other person claiming to be a writer that has never shared a single word.
  8. You might not know everything on earth – Who Cares!!

I have since gone back and read over all of the other criticisms I received.  I read them over and over again until they did not have any power anymore.  Some where helpful and I have learned from them.  Others I have already forgotten.

If you have got any great words of encouragement to emerging writers we would love to here from you.



IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.


Leave a Comment