Accept Criticism but Tune Out the Haters!

By Cathy Yan, Age 15, Canada

Artwork by Katie King

 

Accept Criticism jaBlog!“My writing isn’t good enough.”

“My characters are awful.”

Statements like these can play on a never-ending loop, keeping you from being productive. When they come from within, you can soldier on and tame them by using the tips found in Polly Wants to be a Writer. What if they come from the outside?

I once had an English teacher tell me that my writing was unfocussed, pointless, and wordy. Ouch! The only thing that saved me from falling prey to her hurtful comments was my confidence in my writing style. Even back then, I knew that I had a very distinguished way of writing, and I was proud of that. However, I still took my teacher’s words to heart and learned from them. I didn’t change my writing style just to make her happy, but I did keep her comments in mind—especially the ones about focussing on the main idea—while I was editing.

How can you do the same?

When someone—especially a close friend or a family member—critiques you in a harsh way, you have to really analyze their comments. Don’t let your emotions blind you to tips that can help you improve. For example, if your friend tells you that your characters need development, don’t get defensive and insist that your characters are perfect. Instead, take their advice and look through your piece. Maybe you’ll realize that they have a good point.

However, constructive criticism is different from outright hate. If someone tells you that your writing just plain “sucks” without giving a decent reason for it, never take it to heart. They’re being disrespectful to you, and you should consider having someone else to proofread your work next time. If they insist on heaping their advice on you, simply ignore them. Hate may be inevitable, but it’s never worth listening to. What matters are your style and your ideas. Proofreaders are there to help you tune your work, not to drag you down or pressure you to change.

That being said, all criticism hurts. Having spent all that time building what you think is perfect only to have someone bring you back to reality doesn’t do wonders for your self-esteem. In the writing world, your pieces will be in the public eye. It’s important to have confidence in yourself and grow a thick skin. Take the advice and consider the constructive criticism of others but also stay true and confident to your own style. Your writing techniques may change as you grow, but it should change only on your terms, never on someone else’s. It’s important to allow external factors like constructive criticism and stories aid you in your growth, but it’s also important to find and showcase your own voice. After all, isn’t that what writing’s all about?

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Cathy Yan is a 15 year old writer from Canada. She feels that the books she reads help to define her as a writer. Cathy is LTC’s Social Media Assistant. You can connect with her on our Facebook page.

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Cathy Yan

About Cathy Yan

Cathy Yan is an eleventh grade student from Canada who enjoys reading, writing, and volunteering at the local community centre. In addition to being the Social Media Assistant at Laura Thomas Communication, she is also the vice-president of her school's newspaper club, and the Global Village and Adventures editor for Amazing Kids! Online Magazine. She was a finalist in the 2014 Junior Author's Short Story Contest, and in the Poetic Power Essay Contest for the Summer quarter of 2014.

One comment on “Accept Criticism but Tune Out the Haters!

  1. I really like this article, I once told my friend that her grammar wasn’t very good, but also gave her way to improve. However, she just deleted the story and refused to talk to me! However, sometimes you don’t get very good criticism, so it’s good to ask for it occasionally, too, otherwise you’ll never get better! Really good article, though, I like the way that you dealt with your teachers remarks! :)

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