A Lesson From the Criticised Writer
April 7, 2019
April 7, 2019
Criticism is different to rejection.
It can be just as negative, and just as damaging.
It can also be amazingly positive. It all depends on your perspective.
I was blessed to have a wonderful mentor when I was first stepping out onto my freelance writing career. She was my tutor in the writing course I'd just completed, and graciously offered to continue to mentor me.
Sometimes we would send my items back and forth, as she suggested improvements, and I tried to do as she said. Or she would remind me of repeated failures that I had not noticed, such as those dreaded 'passives'. (Passive writing was a common problem for me).
I think sometimes she worried that I would find all those red marks and lines stuck through my writing too overwhelming, and give up. She asked me one day how I deal with all the necessary critisms.
[By the way: the fact that they were positive does not mean they were always easy to deal with. I could have given up just as readily. Appreciating positive critiques is something that comes with time and experience, I think.]
I'd like to share with you the little mantra I made up at the time, which summarized my way of working through it:
'Gulp, groan and get on with it. '
When I first received my mentor's response, I'd have a quick look to see how many corrections there appeared to be. I gulped nervously when I saw a lot of black lines through my carefully crafted words, and red lines pointing to corrections.
I often surprised at those times if I had any writing talent at all. Was I wasting my time? There was sometimes significant anxiety indicated by those 'gulps'.
Then it was time to face my fears, open the file, and start to read all the corrections.
Groan! I would often then sit for a while with my back a bit humped, rubbing my hands through my hair, wondering how I could have still got this wrong, or made that common mistake yet again. What must my mentor think of me?
As I said at the start, I'm blessed to have had a wonderful mentor. Perhaps she also surprised if I had any writing talent, but if so, she did not let on. She kept encouraging me; and kept those corrections coming too.
I believe it is quite okay to allow yourself a groan or two.
Just do not wallow in self-pity.
Straighten your back, shake off your lackency, and …
Get on with it.
Putting fingers to keyboard to try yet again was often very hard.
Even housework seemed more fun! However, I did get on with it.
Some good 'ole stubbornness surfaced, and refused to admit defeat.
I believe that's why I'm still writing today.
What about you?