Take Criticism in Stride

via theparisreview.org

I can remember my calculus classes in high school like they happened yesterday. I was awful, but I had wanted to be an engineer. I had no idea what I was in for.

I would be the first to volunteer to do the math problems on the board. I, usually, had no clue what I was doing, but I did it anyway. I knew that my teacher would tell me I was wrong, but walk me through the problem so I knew what I was doing. It helped the class, but it really helped me a lot.

Even with homework assignments, I can remember volunteering my answers and, still, I’d be wrong. But that’s okay. I learned from those mistakes and I still passed the class. It took a lot of work and determination, on my part, to learn from my mistakes (I did pass that class FYI).

And that’s how I handle my job today.

If I have a question, no matter how stupid I think it is, I ask. Sometimes it’s an obvious answer, but it doesn’t matter. It’s better to understand what you are doing while you are doing it.

Also, you will get criticized. Everything you know about writing will get questioned at some point. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been tested a lot. Criticism can be tough, but it makes you a better writer and, more importantly, a better person.

It’s not always easy, though. The gerund habit I had is a perfect example of that. My editors just didn’t want to see them as much. So, I had to remind myself for a couple of weeks, but after that it was just in my head to stay away from them.

Criticism should motivate you to be a better writer. It works for me.

It has for me and, as hurt as your ego may be, take it all in stride and move on.

The bottom line is you still have a job to do and you’re still expected to produce stories each day.

Jonathan

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