As a writer you solicit reviews. Good reviews of course. What happens when you get a bad one? I recently received a bad review. My novel was essentially eviscerated. After sulking for a couple of days I thought about what it meant.
First of all, life is filled with bad reviews. Novels, short stories, blog posts, projects at work all get criticized. It’s inevitable.
My review made me realize that there are things you can do to weather the bad reviews of life. Here’s my list of actions and attitudes to get to the other side:
· Don’t take it personally. Generally, bad reviews are not criticism of you as a human being. They are just an assessment of that particular writing or work. And that work is just one small cog in the large machine that’s your life.
· Grow a thick skin. With the plethora of rejection letters, red pen happy editors and angry reviewers, writers have to develop “rhino hides” in order to survive. Be confident in your ability and continue on in your chosen profession knowing that the old saying “practice makes perfect” is really true.
· Reviews are by nature subjective. As much as we try not to, we all tend to introduce our peculiar prejudices and quirks into what we do. And reviewers are no different. In my particular review, the reviewer actually liked a storyline in my novel that I was afraid might be off putting. Go figure.
· Learn from bad reviews. Although reviews, as stated above, are mostly subjective, there are always objective points worth taking. Learn and grow from these.
· Finally, be defiant. Let bad reviews inspire you to do greater things. Take an “I’ll show them” attitude and work harder on your next project to make it the best it can be.
As a kid, probably like me, you had goldfish for pets. The little critters didn’t do very much except swim, eat and poop until that inevitable day when you awoke to find one belly up in the bowl. What did you do? Why you felt bad for a moment, scooped out the dead fish, flushed it down the toilet and made a trek to the pet store.
A bad review is much like a dead goldfish. When you get one feel bad for a moment, scoop it out of your memory, flush it down the crapper, and get on with your life.