How To React When People Don’t Like Your Writing

By on May 25, 2016
How To React When People Don’t Like Your Writing - Writer's

Sharing your writing with others can be a scary business. If you are anything like me there is always that voice in your head that asks the dreaded ‘what if’ questions.

What if they hate it?

What if they hate me because of it?

What if because of the above I will have to give up on my dreams and never write again?

Every writer, at one point or another has felt this way, and even many well-established authors feel this way despite being seasoned professionals with huge fan bases.

Now many people might tell you to just  ‘go for it,’ that no one would be that cruel. But the reality is that readers aren’t afraid to speak out and let authors of articles, blog posts and full on novels know exactly what they think about them.

Sadly fear of rejection doesn’t just stop if and when you get a publishing offer either. It can happen at anytime, to anyone.

But should you let it stop you?

Of course not.

Withers simply need to arm themselves with the necessary tools to ensure that they stay upbeat even if someone does react negatively to their work - here’s how.

Know that you are not alone

Everyone, at some point, is going to face criticism from someone else, whether justified or not. And we don’t just mean other writers. Whether you work as a waitress or a CEO you’ll come across someone who feels they have a right to criticise what you are doing.

They may do this in a measured and logical way, or they may be entirely unreasonable about the matter. Being criticised hurts, but let's face it, if someone does so in the former way, then perhaps they have a point, so why not listen to what they have to say and see if there is any merit in it? Learning from criticism will only make you stronger.

However, if they decide to comment in a cruel, unwarranted and unreasonable way then know that they are not worth paying attention to, and it’s likely that other readers won’t either.

Learn how to ignore it

Nasty comments often get your blood boiling or make you want to burst into tears and crawl inside your pillow case. However you want to react initially try not to let them get to you. Some people just want to cause a stir, and love nothing more than a good argument, so if they don’t have any valid points then just ignore them. They’ll soon leave you alone and move onto someone else.

Learn how to justify yourself

If someone takes offence at what you have written then you can choose to respond to them. Always do this in a completely calm and measured way, and never apologise - unless they are pointing out a glaringly obvious mistake. If you don’t feel you have done anything wrong, then stick up for yourself, but don’t let yourself get drawn into long-winded arguments at the same time.

Learn how to laugh

It is always good to have a sense of humour about these things. While it might be very difficult at times to see the positive or humorous side, if you can laugh it off you’ll feel so much better, and can feel smug that they haven’t beaten you down.

Get a punching bag

We mean this both literally and metaphorically! Sometimes you will be desperate to vent your anger and frustration over a comment that someone has made about your writing. Instead of directing it at them, which is never a good idea, pick up the phone and have a good old rant to a friend, or simply vent your frustration by taking up kickboxing or a martial art!

It can be hard to react well when people don’t like your writing but if you can then you’ll feel so much better. It is always more productive to focus on the positives, so next time someone writes something negative about your work just remember all the kind comments you’ve received in the past, or how someone got in touch to tell you they loved your book - then suddenly it is all worth it again and you’ll remember that above all else, you are doing a job that you love.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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