Something I’ve learned, not only from my tentative prodding of the publishing world, but from life in general, is that we will receive criticism. Whether it’s on our looks, job performance, or in many of our cases, our art. And I’ve learned, particularly with the last one, that I must be prepared for it.
I am a writer. I want to share my characters and their lives and loves and adventures with every last person willing to read about them. And I want them to love them as much as I do. Some people do love them, think they’re perfect and wondrous… and some not so much. What do I do with the not-so-much people? I accept their criticism with a thank you and see what I can learn from it.
They aren’t always right. They’re not always kind. Some may be harsh without realizing they are harsh. But if nothing else, I know that that person is not my target audience. I’ll admit even constructive criticism given gently can spark the urge to knock my head against the desk a couple times in frustration. Do I do this? No. I take a breath and I try to learn.
The thing is, almost always, there is something to learn. And in the end, if I can’t learn from it, a criticism is like advice. I don’t have to act on it.