Dealing With Criticism

Unless it’s constructive, no artist likes criticism…no human likes it, for that matter; but we all have to learn how to deal with it.  I remember thinking that the worst part of being a first-time author, would be facing the online reviews of the book on Amazon.  I asked another author friend of mine, how I should approach a bad book review.  Do I write a rebuttal statement, to defend myself?  “Absolutely not!”, she said.  “You ignore it and focus on getting more good reviews out there.”  When I asked my publisher’s marketing rep the same question, she agreed completely with my friend.  “There are simply mean-spirited people in the world that will write a bad review, just because they can.  Some will respond negatively out of jealousy, and others will enjoy the power trip they get to play out in cyberspace.”  She was right; and I just had to accept it as the world we live in now.  Whether you’re an artist, an author or both; how you deal with criticism, will speak volumes about your character.

When I was in college, I had to participate in a weekly critique.  Though painful at times, I slowly developed a strong spine by focusing on the valid points and “constructiveness” of the criticism.  These were professors and other seasoned artists that knew their stuff; so I could trust them to give helpful feedback.  Even authors twenty years ago, only dealt with professional book critics…common folk were not allowed to give their opinions, because they weren’t as educated or experienced to do so.  Enter the modern world: this is where internet critics start to get ugly.  The ignorance level on some is what makes it so difficult to swallow the reviews, with absolutely no validity to them!

I was so engrossed with the reviews themselves, I didn’t notice that people could comment on them, even though it wasn’t in my best interest to do so.  By far, my most misguided, bad review on Amazon surprisingly had five comments attached to it!  I knew the outcome could go two ways: either all five people would agree with the inaccurate info the original reviewer stated, or that these five people would come to my defense.  Guess what?  My faith in humanity was restored…all five people defended me!  Their comments were so spot-on, that everything was almost verbatim, to what I would have liked to have been able to say to the reviewer myself.  It’s as though people understand the situation now, and they’re able to sort through the ignorance that runs rampant through cyberspace.  Well, I’ll give that five stars!  How do you deal with criticism?  Let’s discuss!             

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