When we write a book (especially if we did it right) we bare our hearts in it. So when someone criticizes our work, even if it’s unfounded, it wounds a deep part of us that doesn’t have the capability of rationalizing it away or laughing it off. It hurts.

Many people give up after receiving criticism, even whether it’s helpful or hateful.

Sometimes, the reviews are rightMaybe you are new at writing and still finding your voice. Maybe you neglected to develop your story properly or haven’t polished your sentence structure. Maybe it just isn’t the right time for a story like yours. In this case, the criticism points you in the right direction. You can digest it and use it to make you better.

On the other hand, stupid, condescending criticism with no foundation hits us in a way that makes us feel bullied and victimized. I remember I received a one-star review for my novella, SICK, that said “waste of time.” She didn’t say why she didn’t like it. Could it have no redeeming qualities whatsoever? I would love to know! It will always be a mystery, and those are the reviews that really get under your skin.

The worst is when it comes from a family member, friend, or partner whose approval is important to us. Nothing deflates us quicker and more thoroughly than the opinions of those we love.

Yes, we need feedback, and we need to listen to readers. But we have to keep ourselves grounded in our creative integrity. If we worry about what others will think while we’re writing, we will not be true to ourselves. Once through the fever dream of inspiration, we can calmly discern which feedback is useful and which is the backlash of pessimistic, bitter human beings.

If it turns out we truly flopped, it is important not to brush it off as if nothing happened. Your heart got crushed into the pavement. Acknowledge your disappointment, take some time to mope, and then get back to the page armed with the new knowledge you’ve acquired in your creative battle.


EXERCISE—YOUR WRITER MANIFESTO from the Ultimate Author Planning Guide (DOWNLOAD HERE).

Define your purpose as a writer.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you as a writer?
  • What do you want to communicate?
  • How do you want to change the way readers think, perceive, and feel?
  • Who are you speaking to?

It could be to make people laugh. It could be to make them realize who they are. It could be to inspire them to dream a little bigger, or help them to become aware of weaknesses they need to address. Maybe your mission is just to scare the pants off of them.

Remembering the big-picture reason you write will help you push through fear of criticism.

Your future readers are waiting for you!