Learning to take criticism is an important step towards publishing and becoming a better writer. Sometimes, people just can’t hack it. Criticism is what’s going to make you better, help you learn new techniques and what not to do in writing, and help you differentiate between good criticism and bad criticism. In the world, there are two types of critics, though: others and yourself.
Writers have a tendency to be extremely critical of their own work – either that or they have a self-inflated ego, but most of the time, writers love to critique their own work, usually to their own detriment. I spend too much time tearing apart my own writing and my writing process and finding all the things wrong with it.
As a species, writers love to tear their own work apart and convince themselves that they are terrible. Their plots are trite and their characters are bland. Of course, this isn’t true most of the time, or if it is, there are ways to fix those things. What we have to learn is that even though we may sometimes feel like our writing is complete crap, there is some good stuff in there.
So how do you combat your inner critic? You could do it my way and have your unfailing best friend insist that you’re awesome until you start to believe it (I’m kidding, although not really. Like I talked about last week about finding your support network, it’s good to have someone there to help you when you feel down about your writing). This doesn’t mean fishing for compliments or putting yourself down just to get someone to tell you you’re not. Sometimes it’s easy to slip into feeling bad about your writing, and that’s when you need a little boost, but being self-deprecating just to get compliments isn’t helping anyone and will eventually annoy your friends.
You can also go back and read things you’ve written that you really loved. Try to understand why you liked it so much, why it was good writing in your eyes and how you can incorporate it into your current projects.
Don’t compare yourself to others. It is ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other writers, especially when there are so many of them out there, but it’s a slippery slope, my friend, into writing depression. There are all sorts of writing styles out there that all sorts of people enjoy, so even if you’re not writing the “next John Green book” or the next “Game of Thrones” or “Harry Potter” or whatever, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are proud of your own work.
So silence the nagging little voice in your head and find what you want to write!