Guest Writers / Pitfalls

Coping with writing criticism


Criticism and formal rejection letters are a near inevitable part of a professional career and are considered by many in the writing community as a crucial part of the experience.


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In fact, very few writers can say that their work was never turned down at some point in their careers. Many will agree that the opinions of editors and publishers are important, but it is the opinion of their audience that can hold a far greater significance — for better or worse.

Read: Can a college degree harm your writing career?

Negative responses that offer little in the way of constructive criticism are what some may call the “cost” of writing publicity. Sooner or later, there will be people who won’t like something that is published, no matter the size or devotion of a readership. Writers will receive negative criticism, but it is what they do with it that matters.

Read: 5 ways a college degree can improve your writing

  • Create something good out of it. Sometimes a little kick is good for the creative drive. Show those naysayers that they are wrong. Let them be the fuel for a new piece or the revitalization of an old one. Write a story about them, about negativity, about overcoming it. Write more; publish more.
  • Clarify things. Readers don’t always understand “the vision” behind a piece 100%, and sometimes they just get it plain wrong. Is something particular confusing, like a character’s motive or subject matter? Publish something that clarifies any confusion, especially if multiple “critiques” are given about the same topic.
  • Ignorance is bliss. Even the most prolific works aren’t loved – or liked – by everybody. Learn to let hateful comments or negative reviews go, no matter who they are from. Take the high road and avoid heated arguments and try not to take things too personally. Don’t let others take over the dream.

Ashley Pereira is a student and freelance writer. She is currently a contributing writer for To learn more about her and see more of her work, visit her website here.

Ashley Pereira

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