Writers: How to Handle Criticism

As a writer, I understand the power of words. We wield our pens and evoke emotion through the written word, taking readers on a journey of the heart and mind. Our prose is capable of uplifting and crushing spirits over the course of the story. Our characters love and hate, experience kindness and cruelty, strive for success, and struggle through failure. And we have no trouble putting our little darlings through it. It is, after all, the essence of plot. Conflict, both internal and external.

Now let’s talk about internal conflict from a different perspective. Flip the script. Or, in this case, step in front of a mirror. I’m talking about self-directed criticism.

How many times a day do negative words cross your mind?

Everyone will hate this story. I’ll always be a failure. My writing sucks. And on and on. Consider the writing process, those powerful words that are capable of moving readers to tears or fits of laughter. Your thoughts have the same power over your life. Negative thinking attracts negative results.

“What consumes your mind, controls your life.”

So how do we go about changing our thoughts in order to change our lives?

I’ve come across websites, books, and videos listing many ways to combat negative thinking from affirmations to meditation to journaling. Do what works for you, but I urge you to also use your creative writing talent in your own life. Think of your life as the hero’s journey with high points and low points, all leading up to that happy ending. You, the author, structure it all with great care. Anytime you find yourself thinking negative thoughts (low points), say, “plot twist,” and then get to work creating a high point for yourself.

Negative thoughts are gonna happen, but learn to use them as a catalyst for your next big turning point.

Your reward? A happy ending, of course!

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