I have not learned the art of benignly accepting criticism; to watch it fly over my head like a jet plane. It usually hits me in the chest, and although it seldom knocks me over, I regress to pouting. Not overtly but internally where it hurts.
As the fourth of five girls, a liberal thinking farm wife, a professional with a career in teaching combined with mental health counseling, one would think I had grown immune to adverse opinions and comments of me or my work. Not so!
The culprit: I continue to embrace projects of which I am not knowledgeable. Such is the case with writing and publishing a book.
Oh my goodness!
In the beginning some well-intentioned friends criticized subtly, “You’re writing about WHAT?” Or, “I didn’t know you were a writer.”
Some gave double messages, “Let me know when you’re a guest on the Today Show!” Or they had an edge of sarcasm, “Reeaally? Cool.!?”
From the brazen, criticism came directly, “I could never sell this to an editor; you have no platform!” Another agent said, “Your platform is fine, but your story about Terri is so depressing, who would want to read it?”
My daughter turned me onto an author/publishing consultant who said, “STOP talking to people – Choose one person who likes you and likes what you wrote. Only talk to them!” Even though she spoke in jest, it was the best advice.
Now I could write a book on how tough I became in this publishing process, the wisdom I gained from critical feedback, and my honed expertise of writing, rewriting, and rewriting, again.
Life is about learning, and we don’t retain unless emotion is directly connected to the experience. Therein lies the value of criticism. As I became more skilled at pouting, justifying, and recovering, my book improved. From the criticisms, constructive or cutting, I learned the foundational elements of publishing my own book.
Thank you to all the naysayers I encountered during this vertical learning curve. Your input was invaluable.
Until the next time: