And sometimes laugh.
Until we start thinking, what if that was me?
Today's Excuse: I am too sensitive to have my writing criticized.
Public speaking is said to cause more fear in the average person's heart that the thought of death itself. One of the oldest tools to conquer the nervousness associated with speaking in front of a group is to imagine them naked. The irony? When you are sharing your ideas in front of others, it is you who is stripped naked, so to speak. You are no longer safe behind the walls of your inner thoughts, now you are exposing who you are. And it feels a bit drafty.
It's not much different with writing. Your imagination, creativity, and skill are waiting to be discovered, quietly disguised as words on a page. Allowing someone to lift the mask and critique your abilities can leave you raw, especially if you are "lucky" enough to have a Simon in your world.
Excuse Editor Tip: Tough Criticism Shows Your Excuses the Door
- Honest Criticism--If you survive a bout of honesty regarding shortfalls in your writing, you can no longer use the excuse that you don't know how to do it better. You can no longer lean on the excuse that your work is not selling even though you, your best friend and your mother think it's great. That is why American Idol contestants smiled and nodded hearing the encouraging words from the "nicer" judges, but held their breath in anticipation of Simon. No sugar coating for his medicine. If you take the same kind of medicine correctly, your writing will get better.
- Nasty Criticism--Sometimes Simon's comments went too far; instead of helping the contestant, it seemed like he was belittling them. You may get some of this, too. Constructive feedback is the kind you can learn from, while negative comments without anything to back them up just hurt. Facing these attacks often enough makes you stronger and no longer able to hide behind the excuse of being too sensitive. Take a big breath in when this happens, and let it go. You are still alive, still breathing, and your pens still work. You've built up some tolerance to hurtful comments. As a writer, you know the power of words, but you can choose to deflect certain ones to a better direction.
How have you dealt with criticism? Have you learned what is honest and what is not? If you are in a writing group, are their rules for giving feedback?