C is for Criticism. Is criticism a negative word? It is most certainly something we (as writers) often dread. Criticism is the reason some of us have such a hard time letting others read our work. We fear that others won’t get our meaning or like our characters. We dread being judged. I will admit that sometimes it is hard to sit by and listen to or read criticism of my writing.
Because of my own fear of rejection, I find it hard to be critical of others work. When reviewing for other authors I always try to find the things I like and focus on that while carefully mentioning areas in need of improvement. In truth, well thought out, constructive criticism can be a helpful tool for the writer. As with beta readers and editors, fresh eyes can spot problems or errors we miss because we are too close or too familiar with the text. There will always be people who lack tact or find pleasure in tearing down others through criticism. (Like Taylor says, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.)
But good criticism is nothing to be feared. It can help an author to elevate the writing. Isn’t that what we ultimately strive toward? We want our words to be heard, our stories to be told, our meaning to be grasped by the readers. Even negative critics may point out flaws or problems that can be improved upon. Do not fear criticism. Learn from it. Welcome it. Use it. And the hurtful stuff? Shake it off. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)