How Not To Deal With Criticism

german-sheperd- dogSome writers say they love criticism  (I believe them. I do…) while others say it taps their inner well of murderous rage.

But, whether you love it or hate it there’s one thing most writers would agree on and that is, that the best thing to do with criticism is either to learn from it or forget it.

What we probably shouldn’t do is post 50 responses to it hoping to persuade the critic they are wrong. There is nothing you can do to persuade someone to like your book if they don’t and any attempts to change their mind will either make you look bad, sad or just plain crazy.


If you are tempted to respond I’d say DON’T! If you’re still tempted try watching the sun go down – it works for me.


And if after sunset you’re still tempted, I’d still say DON’T and if you absolutely must – then at least keep it short and sweet and try not to hit the send button until the sun rises again.


Whatever you do don’t respond like writer, Stephan J. Harper, whose response to critic, Michael E. Cohen, has gone viral and attracted ridicule by the bucketload.

Why ridicule? Well, it might be something to do with the fact that in one effort to persuade the unfortunate critic of the merits of his literary merit, Harper proudly quoted from his novel:

“There were dozens and dozens of flowers in vases of all descriptions … scenting the air throughout like crazy. Some bear had sent her bright yellow and orange dozens, poised next to red, white and pink dozens”

Harper went on to assure his readers of his literary merit by adding that this quote was ‘straight out of Fitzgerald and Keats, my friend’.

John Dugdale, writing in the Guardian, noted that Harper was ‘seemingly unembarrassed by the incongruity of mounting a vehement defence of a detective story in which all the characters are teddy bears.’

I don’t know about that. Why should he be embarrassed?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong, or even embarrassing about writing a detective teddy bear novel – it could be an entirely new genre, or at the very least attract a ‘cult’ following.

So I’d say best of luck with the teddy bears, but on criticism I still think the best advice is to ignore it and keep on writing.

Best of luck with your writing.


Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and get your free creative writing tracker.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply