Acts 11:2, NIV
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him.
One of the things I remember most when I first started writing was how vulnerable it made me feel. It didn’t make sense to me. I was writing fiction and there was nothing autobiographical in the story. Nothing personal, and yet I did feel vulnerable. It felt as if I’d stripped off my clothes and was running naked down the street for everyone to see me, the real me. The me with all my imperfections and flaws.
And I don’t mind sharing with you that it was an uncomfortable feeling.
I’ve grown more accustomed to the naked feeling the longer I write. I’ve come to understand that us creative types share a secret part of ourselves with those that enjoy our art, whether it’s words, pictures or some other form.
That sharing of ourselves is what allows us to touch another’s soul in some way.
I understand that being a writer means being vulnerable. That doesn’t make it any easier, especially when we get criticism from others. And then as we share our work with the world we make ourselves even more vulnerable. Maybe the world is an agent, an editor, one person or hundreds of thousands, we open ourselves up to their opinions.
It’s important to remember, whatever the criticism is–it’s only one person’s opinion. Opinions are what critiques and reviews are made of. They aren’t necessarily right or wrong. We love good reviews and we hate the bad ones. Not to mention, we know in our heart of hearts those bad ones are unfair and soooooo wrong!
The truth is that criticism hurts our feelings. We made ourselves vulnerable and someone has the nerve to say WE aren’t good enough. That WE did it wrong. That OUR art isn’t worthwhile.
My advice to you is GET OVER IT. Just the way Peter did, just the way Jesus did. If you want to be a writer, you MUST learn to deal with criticism and rejection again and again. It’s part of being a writer. And you can’t let it stop you from writing or even let it hurt your feelings–too much!
Jesus knew that we couldn’t please everyone and He didn’t try to. He even told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet from the towns that didn’t welcome them.
Matthew 10: 14
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
Criticism, fair or unfair, constructive or destructive, hurts but being a writer means exposing ourselves to the opinions of others. And that means taking the risk, learning what we can from their criticism, and then shaking off the dust, and keep writing.