Thursday, July 23, 2015

Criticism Survival Kit

I don't handle criticism as well as I would like, but I have found a system that works for me. Here’s the blueprint:

1. Go into shock
2. Get defensive
3. Apologize
4. Make bad joke
5. Make excuses
6. Suck up to critic
7. Go, essentially, catatonic
8. Stare down at notebook
9. Scribble 
10. Leave room
11. Crawl into deep hole
12. Claw at earthy walls
13. Pace/cry/whimper
14. Clean dirt from nails
15. Crawl out
16. Go for long walk
17. Talk about it with loving husband 
18. Talk about it with understanding friend 
19. Realize critic was right
20. Make edits based on criticism
21. Laugh about the whole thing at brunch

Anyways, yesterday, while speed walking on a treadmill -- and nearly falling off because I checked out my own butt -- I listened to a DEAR SUGAR podcast. Featuring everybody's favourite guy ever, George Saunders, the podcast goes over different ways writers deal with bad reviews and criticism. I found it helpful, and so I wanted to share.

It didn't help me streamline my patented 21-step system, but it did put things into perspective. It also emphasized the benefits of good criticism, namely that sometimes (or, in my case, always) the critics are right. 

Thanks to the very talented author Rebecca Rosenblum for tweeting this out. Check out her blog if you can. It’s full of goodies for writers.


  1. So great! If I knew how to "tweet this out," I could maybe tweet this out too.

    1. Haha. I hear you. I spent 30 minutes today trying to figure out how to access my "drafts" on Twitter.