Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Power of Criticism

One of the most interesting things for me about writing this blog is the inside look I feel I’ve gotten into what life must be like as a writer. Granted, I’m not writing 100,000 words and putting myself out on bookshelves, but in writing the blog I have faced, like many writers, reviewers. I have regularly received criticism for my postings on my own blog, on message boards, and I can only imagine what the loops say. Most of the time I must say you are all very kind, but there has definitely been a post or two that for whatever reason resulted in an awful lot of backlash. What I have learned from most of these reviews is that it’s best to ignore them. Why? Because it amazes me how much one bad review or piece of criticism can get into my soul and really start to affect me. Not all the time, but once in a while. And for this very reason I often advise my authors not to read the reviews they receive on their own books. If you find that one bad comment or criticism starts to get you down, turn away and ignore them. Some of my authors do this, while others I know regularly keep tabs on their reviews.

But all of this criticism had me thinking . . . have you ever learned anything from a review? It’s interesting, because we encourage writers to take what they can from personalized rejection letters that include feedback, yet tell them to ignore reviews. I know that once in a while I have learned things from my detractors. I have been given new fodder for blog posts and I’ve occasionally even changed some of our policies. But what about writers? Do good reviews ever help you? What about bad reviews? Have you ever learned anything about your own writing from a review?