Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IWSG: What I'd tell my younger self about criticism

This IWSG post will be written in the format of my previous If I Knew Then ones with a focus on criticism.

1. You need critique partners to show you the weaknesses in your work. There is no getting around this. They may come in the form of an amazing blogger/kindred spirit (Laura!), an agent, editor, etc. These people provide imperative insight into your work.

2. Sometimes it will be tough to accept criticism. Sometimes you won't want to cut out that entire chapter or fix a character's story line. It's okay that letting go isn't always easy---that just means you invested a lot of yourself and that's great. Be aware that the closer you are to your work, the more difficult it will be to remain objective about it.

3. There's the constructive criticism that's offered so that you can improve. Then there's the insulting criticism that deserves to be ignored because inherently, it's far less about you and far more about the provider. Whether they try to say their writing is better because it is thoughtful with quality or whether they try to use silence as a form of retaliation, just let it be and hope they find peace 

4. Following the previous point, remember that life is too short to hold a grudge. People make a variety of mistakes for a variety of reasons and there is so much to be elated about. When someone tries to bring you down, see that as a call for compassion and not combativeness. Forgiveness is the key ingredient to cultivating and spreading inner peace.

5. There is an abundance of love and friendship in this world. The people who are eerily similar to you will provide a sense of understanding. The ones who are different will force you to grow and expand your views. Writers by nature are a supportive and encouraging group. Relish that and give back whenever you can.

6. Rejections can provide that essential criticism to push you forward. It's okay to feel dejected for a bit after a slew of rejections but remember, even the seemingly unfavorable events can lead to something valuable. Welcome all different forms of criticism and use them to improve your work, outlook, or behavior.


  1. Such amazing wise words, Saumya!! Those apply to life in general.
    My critique partners rock and I have no problem taking suggestions from them.

  2. Agree with your thoughts Saumya. Ever since I got 2 amazing crit partners, now the 3rd one has joined me, my writing has improved.

  3. There is not only much wisdom in your words, but also peace. Life is always a learning experience, one that can make us better and stronger, if only we choose it to be.

  4. This is so true: "Then there's the insulting criticism that deserves to be ignored because inherently, it's far less about you and far more about the provider." It's hard to perceive it that way, (I take insults so personally!) but it's really far more their problem than mine.

    I loved your post on International Women's Day too. Reminds me to write my mom a note telling her why she's my hero.