How do you respond to criticism?

“There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot” – L. Sprague de Camp.

So true.

It hurts.
You spend hours going over the thing. You edit and re-edit it. And then. . . . BANG!

There comes that harsh, honest bit of criticism that hits you in the face, and throws a thousand questions at you.

There’s something so personal about writing that the slightest criticism hits us below the belt.

The question is how do you deal with it. Do you respond?
Do you keep quiet?
Do you hit back and explain your point-of-view?

Now, there’s constructive and destructive criticism. There’re good critics and there’re bad critics.

But my point is should an artist spend any time/energy in defending a work of art? It’s a work of art. It’s a representation of what one felt at a certain time, on a certain day.

There are no bad feelings or good feelings.

Feelings are just feelings .

They are the plain truth. Should we temper them to suit the needs of the readers? Is it even worth it?

Those of us who write acknowledge the fact that we write as much for ourselves as much for the readers. Or perhaps more.

In every blogpost, every article, every book, there’s one character that’s us. We may not be the protagonist. But we’re there in the story, in some dark alley sitting on a bench. But we’re there.

Is there any need to justify our ‘being’ in the scene? Our feelings? Our points of view? OUR STORY.

I don’t think so. Every single soul has a story to tell. And every story must be told, whether people like it or not.

How do you respond to criticism?


10 comments on “How do you respond to criticism?

  1. deelaytful says:

    I take criticism (and praise as well) with a grain of salt.

  2. Firstly, don’t respond straight away if you can help it. Step back, take a breath, put it in perspective. Secondly, try and be positive in your response. Don’t play games or ‘win one over’ in your reply because everyone else can see/read through that and it makes you look stupid. Thirdly, thank the person for their comments.

    Alternatively, completely ignore them.

  3. I like the alternative – completely ignore them ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. subhorup says:

    In more senses than one, responding to defend your art is giving importance to the criticism. If the criticism is justified and helps you improve, there are no issues. Not when it is an attack on what you are doing. There are times when standing by and allowing your art to be misinterpreted and abused is also not the right course of action. I experienced something similar and thought I would share it with you and your readers.

  5. Thank you for your comment. Like you mentioned, it is very important to distinguish between an attack on what you do and constructive criticism, and respond accordingly. Thanks for the link to your essay. Its very enlightening.

  6. Constructive criticism if taken in the right spirit can actually help but, having said that there are people who criticize something just for the heck of it. Defending your work of art or ignoring them doesn’t make much of a difference.

    โ€œThe artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. โ€

    โ€• Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

  7. Wonderful quote there, Allwin!
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Trisha Dey says:

    I write for myself.. But I also love it when people praise my work and that is very normal. Criticism, whether constructive or destructive is entirely dependent on your attitude of receiving it. But they prove to be extremely helpful indeed. Just try to avoid conflicting situations. Take them in a good spirit. Because if they are criticising that clearly means they actually read your post and gave a thought to it and it affected them.. And that is what every writer wants and i.e. to leave an impact on the reader… ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Wonderfully said!
    “Because if they are criticising that clearly means they actually read your post and gave a thought to it and it affected them.. And that is what every writer wants and i.e. to leave an impact on the readerโ€ฆ”
    That pretty much sums it up ๐Ÿ™‚

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