Qualify The Critics


Now that I have handed out my draft for a round of ‘first reads’, I’m receiving feedback from those who have been kind enough to take the time to read my book. Since it is for kids, and over 100 pages, these are generous friends indeed. It’s not quite ready for my target audience yet.

So far the feedback has been extremely useful. My husband had a great suggestion for an improvement in the ending. Another reader was not satisfied with the development of one of the characters. Another was confused by an overly-long scene. All this input has been noted and considered. I am grateful for it.

My cousin referred to the book as my ‘baby’. A fitting description for sure, and perhaps an explanation for why I feel so tender toward it, and a little sensitive to criticism. Even the most unfortunate looking newborn is beautiful in its parent’s eyes.

If someone simply says they don’t like our work, that doesn’t really fall into the category of criticism. What we create will be meaningful to some, and meaningless to others. Accepting this fact can help us focus our energies on the creative process, uninhibited.

I have found that there are two types of criticism. The first is constructive criticism. This comes to us from someone we are connected to in some way, who cares about us and wants us to grow and succeed. Constructive criticism is meaningful, objective and direct. Its message is clear, concise, and conclusive. If we are lucky, the messenger is thoughtful and considerate.

The second type, destructive criticism, might come from random people we don’t know. Online, companies spend a fortune cleaning up after “trolls” in the comment sections on their websites. Destructive criticism is subjective, emotionally manipulative and harsh. It lacks useful information. Often, it is delivered with the intention of demoralizing someone by diminishing his or her work.

The good news is that it’s easy to tell the difference between the two. We must be open to the constructive criticism we receive from others. It can help us improve our work, whatever that might be, and expand our horizons. Destructive criticism can be tuned out. The chance of making it over the bridge without a few trolls taking notice is unlikely. We just have to be aware of their malevolent nature, and get to the other side with our story intact.

Carolyn and Leah

6 comments on “Qualify The Critics

  1. I admit, having read some of the extremely critical reviews of published books online has made me wonder if my writing is even worth the effort. Yet, I have people all the time telling me I should write, and that I am good at it. I have a secret fear of my efforts being publicly called drivel or unoriginal. Even writing those words and facing that fear brings a tiny tear. Your words have encouraged me! Thank you so much. I am very happy to be a follower of your blog. I do need to remember that my work would be meaningless to some, but meaningful to others. I need to be brave enough to accept that, and prepared to let it roll off.

  2. Your writing is worth the effort, Chris! Only tune in to the constructive criticism, from those who support you, and ignore the rest… It would be a loss for all of us to miss out on reading your work. Please put it out there :) Thank you

  3. Good for you for noting the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.
    It’s always difficult to tune out the destructive trolls, but you can do it. Good luck!

  4. Good insights.

    Though it is tough to expose yourself, asking for edits is the best way to find the difference between friends and friendly enemies. Which is something each of us needs to know – and so avoid the latter.

    Chuck K.


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