As great as it would be for everyone to love your writing, it’s not going to happen. It’s like recess in elementary school, when you want to play with anyone that’s doing something you enjoy. Just because you want to play with them, and maybe most of them want to play with you, there’s usually someone who wouldn’t rather not.
This can be harsh. Anytime you get rejected it stings, and when it comes to comments on writing, people can be brutal. They’ll tell you exactly what they think, especially now that social media is so popular. All they have to do is fill out a comment box or write a review. They don’t have to face you, or see that you’re human and have feelings that can be hurt.
Granted, this comes with writing. Negative feedback comes anytime you put yourself out there. I see it a lot on online articles. An article might be on a kid who survived cancer, but most of the comments focus on typos within the article. Or, recently, I read an article about E.L. James’ Twitter Q&A (E.L. James wrote Fifty Shades of Grey), where she was vilified. I’m not a fan of her writing, but the comments and questions some individuals presented to her were beyond rude.
One thing to remember is that writers aren’t the only ones getting negative feedback. Their writing isn’t the only type of work getting bashed. Think of restaurant servers, lawyers, store clerks, doctors, etc. There is always going to be someone who complains, someone who can’t stand what you do.
It’s important to keep in mind that getting upset over someone bashing you isn’t going to help. Nor is firing nasty comments back at them. The best thing to do is to ignore the negative comments, which is very difficult because writing is personal. You pour part of yourself into each piece you write. But, like bullies, the haters will eventually move on if you don’t react.
Since ignoring negative comments is difficult, an alternative is to complain to your family or close friends. Get your aggression out of your system with people you trust. That way, if you do respond to the reader, you’ll be more prepared to respond in a manner that defuses the situation rather than aggravates it.
As a writer, your goal isn’t to make everyone happy. It’s to write the story you envision and to make that story the best it can be.
How do you respond to negative feedback?
(Photo courtesy of Stefan Powell.)