by Brittany Lavin
When I was in college I dreaded “peer review day,” when we would hand our work over to the person next to us for review and advice. As writers, we tend to get attached to our work and can be loath to accept help. I was no different.
But what is it that makes writers so afraid to hand over their work? Well, as the saying goes: “Everybody’s a critic.”
Criticism comes with the territory when writing. Someone is either going to love your work or hate it. Others may be completely indifferent. Whichever the case, all of them will offer their point-of-view of how you can make your work “better.”
This is where constructive criticism comes into play.
Constructive criticism is defined as criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.
But how do you handle constructive criticism?
1. Don’t get defensive. Yes, you like your story the way it is but try to be open to new angles and plot points.
2. Think about it. Take time to really think about it and don’t respond right away. Let what the person is saying sink in.
3. Learn from it. Don’t think of the criticism as negative. Instead, turn it into a positive learning experience.
When dealing with constructive criticism, perhaps the most important thing to remember is to not take it personally. In the end, it’s your story and you can change it as you see fit. Just remember to be open to all possibilities.
Photo courtesy of Dominik Gwarek.