Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blog Swap with Author Tristi Pinkston: Criticism


I am so excited to announce my very first guest author, who (squeal!) is none other than Tristi Pinkston. Tristi and I have "swapped" blogs. You can check out what I wrote for her by clicking here. Now without any further delay, here is Tristi's post.


The first time I was ever criticized, it was like a punch in the gut.

My mom was very doting, and in her eyes, I could do no wrong.  My first publisher did a very light edit on my first two books, so it wasn’t until I was writing my third book that someone actually said to me, “This needs a lot of work.”  Up until that point, I had believed myself to be practically perfect.  When no one ever tells you that you need to change, you will naturally think that you must be doing everything right.  Right?  To hear that I wasn’t the best writer ever, to hear that I didn’t have the author’s version of the Midas touch, was devastating.

I almost stopped writing.

I hadn’t been prepared for criticism.  And I didn’t know how to take it.

I’m going to be really honest and share something with you.  If you’re a writer and you can’t take criticism, you have two choices—you can either find another profession, or you can grow a thicker skin.  You really don’t have other options.  Authors are criticized all the time.  They get it from their editors, their agents, their reviewers, their mothers-in-law, from some random persons on GoodReads who think they are the book world’s answer to Siskel and Ebert—before Siskel died, of course.  You can’t enter this industry thinking you’re infallible.  Everyone has their off days, and believe me, people will pounce on those off days like mice on chocolate-covered cream cheese.  It’s what you do with it that makes or breaks you.

After I climbed out of bed and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I realized that the person who had criticized me had done me a huge favor.  I could now admit that I did have a lot of rewriting to do.  In fact, that book is now completely, utterly different (it’s not published yet, but when it is, I’ll tell the story again, and this time with a happy ending). 

Now I can take almost anything that’s thrown at me.  I’ve had some bad reviews and some negative comments, and each one has made me stronger.  Sometimes I shrug them off.  Sometimes I pull out what is valid and true, and throw the rest away.  But they don’t send me to bed in tears. 

And they shouldn’t you, either.

Learn to take criticism.  Understand that we all make mistakes, and we can all grow as a result. 

And never, ever, give up.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of (soon to be) eight published novels and one cookbook.  She works as a freelance editor and author services coordinator.  You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com

8 comments:

  1. This is so true. Understand if you want to ride this horse, you will get thrown off. The question is, will you get back on?

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  2. I think non-writing people are surprised sometimes by how easy it is for me to take criticism about my writing. One word: Writer's workshops. They're a great training ground for taking criticism.

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  3. Low expectations...High patience. That's my motto.

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  4. This is a really good look at this issue. I'm so glad you didn't give up Tristi!

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  5. Very true. Yet putting your stuff out there has to one of the hardest things to do. It's your baby, and you're setting it up for others to rip apart. I know a lady (very literate and well spoken) who's written two books. She's the only one who's ever seen them. Her fear that someone will criticize has paralyzed her.

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  6. I've seen some success and some rejections. I wonder what my skin looks like. Hee hee. Great post!

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