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How to Avoid Criticism

November 5, 2020-Want to know how to avoid criticism as an author? Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing, and write nothing. No matter what you do, someone is going to complain. You have a choice, do what you want to do, write the books you want to read, and put yourself out there without caring what people think. This is harder for some people than others, but I promise you, once you stop caring what people think, that’s when you’re free.

This week, one of my authors had a review left on their page. It was less than stellar. But, we focus on the positive. One person didn’t like his book; art is subjective, so let’s move on. If we had wallowed in what other people thought of our work, we’d never write another word. People are entitled to their opinions, and that’s just it; they’re only OPINIONS. What people think of us and our work isn’t going to shatter us, stop us from writing, or give us a complex. What people think of us is none of our business. So how do you bounce back from a nasty review (I’ve had tons of my own, trust me), cutting remark, or mean email?

  1. Do not respond. The worst thing you can do is respond to someone who doesn’t like you or your work. Let them have their opinion and focus on the positive. The last thing you want to be involved in is a war of words. Remember that people are entitled to think whatever they want.
  2. See if there’s truth in the comment. Yes, sometimes I get hate mail…ok, a lot of the time. But sometimes a lot of good comes from it. A person will complain about a character or story arc and say that I can’t write worth beans. This allows me to take a closer look at what they’re saying and see if they’re correct. No matter how harsh, criticism lets me reflect on my work and conduct and improve in areas that need improvement.
  3. Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing your thing, keep writing, and keep moving forward. Oftentimes, people who aren’t happy with themselves or their circumstances lash out at others. People who start fights aren’t at war with you; they’re at war with themselves. Wish them the best and get back to work.
  4. Remember that you can’t make everyone happy. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. There will always be people out there that love your work and others who hate it. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

It’s fine to offer constructive criticism in a positive manner, but it’s quite another to be mean about it. Remember, on the other side of the screen is a human being. How would you want to be treated?

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You Are Worthy

February 19, 2020– If I told you I liked your face, would you say thank you and then let it go or would you say, I like your face too and deflect my compliment? As authors, we’re pretty humble; after all, art is subjective, isn’t it? Not everyone is going to love us, but a lot of folks do! When people say they think we’re great authors, or they really liked our last book,  or that they look forward to our next novel, why can’t we just say thank you and leave it at that? Why do we have to be self-deprecating? It can be for several reasons. There’s nothing more vulnerable than putting your words out in public for the world to read and to be able to refer back to until the end of time. So how can we overcome this over the top feeling of unworthiness as authors? Here’s how:

  1. No one can tell your story like you can. You have a unique power, and that is no one sees the world the way that you do. Remember that you have an individual perspective, which makes it impossible for anyone to tell your story but you. That’s pretty special, so remember that the next time someone pays you a compliment!
  2.  You inspire others. Trust me. You inspire people who pretend to not even see you. The truth is, a lot of people want to be published authors and seeing you signing your books or on social media with your novel encourages them to perhaps do the same one day! So, every time you downplay yourself or your work, you’re quite possibly cheapening someone else’s dream. Imagine this conversation, “Wow, how exciting! You’re a real-life author!” “Yeah, it’s not that great…we aren’t that interesting.” Talk about making that person possibly question their choices or hopes for the future. Raining on their parade if you will. The way we speak to children, especially, is of utmost importance. Always speak well of yourself, not arrogantly, but kindly.
So, my challenge to you, fellow authors, is to take compliments and believe them. Don’t deflect, don’t change the subject, take the compliment and feel great about who you are and what you do. There’s no one like you.