If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re the creative type and maybe even a DIY-er. If I were to guess, I’d have to say you’ve probably written your own book, edited it, and then designed the cover. Pretty impressive, and you definitely get a pat on the back from me. But you may have noticed that it’s really easy to get stuck inside your own head and become blind or even evasive of constructive criticism when you’re doing it all on your own. The key is to not let your work suffer.
At one time or another we all have to learn to distance ourselves from our work. Here’s a little piece of knowledge that you probably already know but are afraid to mutter aloud: all creative folks will be criticized. Let’s face it, you’re going to get it whether you like it or not, so you might as well embrace it and use it to your advantage, right?
You should seek out somebody whose opinion you trust, like a fellow writer whose work you admire. Ask for specific details and take notes. The first draft is never the final draft – we all have to start somewhere. Be honest with yourself, and be humble. Even the best of the best get criticism. Heck, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn books were even banned. The key is to make it constructive.
Of all the things I can tell you, the most important is to not take criticism personally. It is not you that is being picked apart and dissected (though it can sometimes feel that way). The worst thing you could do is to take criticism personally and miss the opportunity to improve your work. It is only when we accept that something isn’t perfect that we can move on and make it better. That is the goal.