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Five Ways to Survive and Chew On the Dreaded Critique

I have had my sail knocked out a few times from sharp words and would find myself drowning in an ocean of tears.  I always  have the best pity parties in which I down the world’s largest BLT sandwich and inhale a Boston cream doughnut for dessert.

This my friends is the most unhealthy way to deal with any setbacks or criticisms in your life.

In the past two years I have taken the slow road to staying on the healthy track and back into the daily routine of writing. As I rewrite the last chapter of my book and begin to format it for my shrewd selected readers to review. I  recognize that I am a sensitive creature, I know my failure pattern, and this time I  refuse to fall into the BLT sandwich trap.

I have developed my own strategy for dealing with the upcoming critiques and setbacks:

  • Focus on what my readers like first and then take the bad news about the book. It is then I will go back to the editing board with grim determination to get it right next time.
  • If  my reader compares me to smelly cheese just remind myself that I was once compared to Norwegian Carrot Cake.
  • Resist the urge to inhale any form of pastry within my vicinity and go for a walk.
  • If the critique is full of red ink it is imperative  to have lots of tissues, go to a cozy place, and  let out that loud ugly cry.
  • At the end of the day if the words still bother me I vow to put on some upbeat music, dance, and deal with it in the morning.

One of the lessons in life that I keep learning over and over, again is that not everyone will like you or what you write. The trick is not to let it keep you down. It’s a big world! Create what you love and someone is bound to like it.

Categories: writing

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

27 replies

  1. One of the things I’ve always liked about you is that you are “real” and certainly well meaning, and with a sense of humour. As you’ve noticed, I’ve written a book which you may or may not have read. I can tell you its gruelling, and the number of people who’ve bought it are a fraction of the people who pass by my Blog, Quality is everything, and determination. I don’t know if I can help you, if you want to send some excerpts or anything at all. Most of all us writers just need encouragement, because keeping going is half the skill. My second book is coming out soon, and I’ve learnt a bit more about marketing so if you want to chatter just let me know.

    1. Thank you for always for your gracious words. I have read your book and have it on my list for this week to leave a review with Amazon. It is a grueling process and would love to have great sales for my book. At the same time I am working on just being content that I have completed and will publish my first book come hell or high water. It is always great to have a community of writers who offer good advice and encouragement. I may be knocking on your blogging door with questions in the coming months.

  2. What a great outlook and props for starting so early getting used to the negative. What helps me when I get a bad review is to read the bad reviews on my favorite authors books, because the more I disagree with them the better I feel. Also remember books are like food. Just because you like your steak well and I like mine rare doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with either one. we are just different. I can’t wait to read your book!

    1. Thanks, Hilary! I always try to prepare for the worst possible outcome and then hope for the best. lol.

      I love that idea and think it is great way to stay positive. You are right every individual is different – we should accept it and treat each other with kindness.

    1. I love post it notes and they come in handy when those great ideas hit. The whole process can be frightening if we let it get the best of us. I think you should get off the porch and start writing. I know there is a book bursting to get out! One of my favorite books is “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Marie Lamott. I think you would enjoy it!

  3. The edit cycle is quite a difficult part of the process, especially we multiple passes (I once was part of a process that required seven. Yes, seven.) are required. I used to dread it.
    Over time, though, one clear lesson emerged from my career: whenever I took a good idea I had and put it “out there” I always got a better one back. Sometimes my idea was altered slightly, just made more sound. Other times, though, my idea was matched with an even better one; one that took the spirit; my intent, but got to the destination along a more graceful roue. Either way, same outcome–the destination I had in mind got arrived at. A half-baked idea became fully baked 🙂
    I came to apply that to the edit cycle. Whenever I got back a marked-up draft I took each suggestion one by one and chose between three alternatives:
    1–make the change exactly as suggested.
    2–go with the spirit; the intent. See what the reviewer had in mind but make the change a different way, one AI thought was more in keeping with the broader picture.
    3–do nothing. Sometimes i simply disagreed with the suggestion. Whenever that occurred though I made it a requirement on myself to write a brief written explanation of why I was choosing to go this particular route. Once in a while I even changed my own mind…
    Later, as the roles changed and I became a content manager/curator rather than a creator I adopted the same process.

    1. I love step 3 and will be applying it to the editing process. I like the idea of writing and adding an explanation of why I didn’t agree with the suggestion. It is a really good way to be accountable to the writing process and not letting my ego get in the way.

  4. I understand your anxiety. I, too, am a sensitive creature. I think that your plan for how to handle the critiques is sound, but would like to humbly suggest that “healthy” baked goods such as banana bread or zucchini bread might satisfy your sweet tooth + keep you emotionally sane, without adding too many calories/fats to your diet. Just a thought, gleaned from practical experience.

  5. I love your last sentence, “Create what you love and someone is bound to like it.”. That is what I remind myself when writing my blog and it has to be fun for me to stick with blogging too. Wishing You the BEST – Happy Writing 🙂

    1. Thank you! I love visiting your blog because your personality is what shines through it. If we don’t enjoy we what we do we can only fake it for so long. The best thing is just to follow our passions and hope someone is there to provide positive feedback along the way.

  6. I should read this post daily. Awesome way to approach a vulnerable state – and so exciting you have come so far with your writing. Looking forward to hearing about all that’s next (and the dance parties that will accompany it throughout)!

  7. Create what you love — So True!! And I think if you follow that, then there absolutely IS someone out there who needs to hear what you’ve written.
    Is it ironic that I am actually eating a boston creme donut right now? not kidding – my friend showed up and dropped off a large coffee and the donut because she knew I had no car today. Friends are so good.

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