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Dealing with Criticism in Your Writing
I came across a funny quote the other day. Apparently, a college student from Ohio University received a paper back from an English professor who had written across the top, “I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.”
After I finished chuckling at the professor’s blatant critique, I pondered the meaning behind his scathing review. Not all papers can be winners. Not each story, poem or essay we commit to paper is going to be worth the paper its printed on. If you’re waiting to create the next great masterpiece, you might very-well be waiting a long time. Your determination to perfect your work is admirable, but I think that despite harsh quotes like the one above, you are still likely your harshest critic. No matter how many times you read and re-read your work, you will always find something to change. You will always be riddled with self-doubt and you will probably never think your work is good enough to be accepted by others.
I feel that way all the time. In the end, writers need to dig deep and find the courage not only to write what is in their hearts, but also, to put it out there to be judged by others. Some may judge you harshly and others will summarily dismiss your work, but others will likely see it the way you do and appreciate the complexity and beauty of the words you have carefully chosen to express yourself. If you have ever dreamed of publishing your work or winning a contest, go for it. Remember, even J.K. Rowling was turned down when she was trying to publish Harry Potter.
Receiving criticism can be hurtful. That is because your work is extremely personal to you. Your writing exposes your insides to the world, places your heart on your sleeve, and lays your innermost fantasies out for all to see. If you are brave enough to write, you will be brave enough weather the storm of criticism that will accompany your writing. That is because the kernels of support that we garner from those who read our work, no matter how rare, will make the criticisms seem minor.
That being said, one must be careful to not dismiss such criticisms or you may miss solid advice that might be useful in your quest to create the greatest work of your writing career. Sound editorial work is crucial to the success of any project. If you are interested in editorial services, there are plenty out there. You can often find editors or agents on the internet or by reviewing the advertisements in such publications as Writer’s Journal or Writer’s Digest. There are also often services advertised through websites such as fundsforwriters.com. In addition, you may consider editing work through JLK Professional Writing and Editing Services by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more helpful writing tips, opportunities and resources for writers, and regular writing exercises to stir your creative juices, visit the online writer's blog, The Elusive Muse at the link provided below.
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