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  • Writer's pictureM. Laszlo

How to Handle Negative Criticism


To the best of my knowledge, there are only three ways to handle negative criticism.

First, a writer may seek to learn something from the negative criticism so as to make some big changes. This option works especially well for young writers, self-published writers, and independent writers perhaps just starting out.

Second, a writer may choose to ignore the negative criticism. He or she may consider the source and deem the source to be something less than reliable. This type of writer will often feed off the negative criticism and let it inspire said writer to persevere in an almost spiteful manner.

I believe that there is a third way to handle negative criticism, and it seems to me that this third way is the best way of all. The third way does not involve learning from the critique nor resisting it. The third way simply obliges the author to remain faithful to his or her muse or inspiration. The third way requires a great leap of faith on the part of the writer or artist or musician. The creator understands that many pan his or her efforts, yet the creator continues with more or less peace of mind—and is not at all spiteful or bitter. The writer who chooses the third way simply remains faithful to the impulses that drive his or her work. The writer who chooses the third way does not necessarily blame the self for the negative or mixed reviews. Often, the writer who chooses the third way does so because said writer feels that God and/or biotic evolution and/or the force of destiny has chosen the maligned individual to do the precise kind of subversive work that many readers reject. Perhaps, too, the writer who chooses the third way holds out hope that someday society will come to judge the work differently. In that sense, the rejected writer does not die in misery. Indeed, the rejected writer may very well die whilst devoted to an unshakeable faith.

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