Last time, we talked about criticism being too soft- why people might do that and what with the problems with that.
This time, lets talk about the opposite problem- when criticism is too hard…
I see a lot of folks online claiming that they want their feedback “as brutal as possible.” They say that if feedback is positive or nice, it must be dishonest. They brag about how much damage they can suck up. They say that a writer’s life is full of rejection and that you need to toughen up to get ready for that.
Frankly, that seems as non-helpful as the “too nice” variety to me.
Let’s break that down a bit.
- Writing is not a test of manhood. Writing is a test of writing, and your worth as a writer is not measured by how much abuse you’ll stand for.
- If positive feedback is always dishonest, that means your writing will never be worth reading.
- If your writing is good stuff, that would make the brutal feedback the dishonest type.
- The measure of the quality of feedback lies in how well it helps you to improve your writing, not in how much damage you can take.
- Writers do face a fair amount of rejection, but deliberately courting abusive feedback to get ready for that sounds to me like trying to get ready for surgery by sticking yourself in the leg with a knife repeatedly.
Frankly, as I see it “This sucks!!!” is roughly the same as “That’s nice, dear…” Neither gives you an honest outside view of your work. Neither gives you information about what is working. Neither gives you handles for where and what you need to improve.
So why would someone give “too hard” feedback?
- Some people just don’t know what they’re talking about.
- Some people don’t like your genre and mistake that for the work not being any good.
- Some people feel powerful when they put other people down.
- Some people are jealous of people who dream bigger dreams or try bigger things than they do.
- Some people are afraid that if you succeed in something, you’ll leave them behind, so they try to trap you where they are.
- Some people think that discouraging you is a kindness because “it’s a big scary world out there”.
- Some people never learned how to give criticism in a constructive manner (which is why I’m writing this series of posts.) It’s a skill set and most people have to learn it.
The bottom line is that feedback that’s “too hard” is usually not any better than “too soft”. Neither helps you to improve your work.
What you need is “just right”,
and that means constructive criticism…..
For more information on Catherine’s books, “Adventures in Palmistry”, “The Practical Empath – Surviving and Thriving as a Psychic Empath”, “Manifesting Something Better”, “The Psychic Power of Your Dreams”, her urban fantasy “The Lands That Lie Between” and her new book “Magick for Pennies”, all from Foresight Publications, click here
and for the new Kindle version of Manifesting Something Better, click here