I once read that anyone wanting to be a proper writer must learn to take criticism, and that if you don’t do this you might as well keep it a hobby. Since then, I’ve made sure that everything I’ve seriously written and wanted to send somewhere has been analysed – and either approved or rubbished. Until recently, I believed that I’d been doing this long enough to easily withstand and learn from any negative feedback. Indeed, that was the case right up until I had to remind a friend of mine that I had a blog.
They might have read some of it to begin with, but they’d forgotten about it since then. When I prompted them with a link to the latest post, I waited somewhat anxiously for their verdict, because I believe that every opinion you can get is important. Mere minutes had passed before they’d read it – so few, in fact, that I wondered if it had been scanned rather than read properly. I can’t remember a lot of their feedback without looking (and I don’t know whether that’s by choice or not) but one part I do remember is that at which they said I’d lost my touch, partly because I “didn’t make it feel like the reader was there too”. I could have been offended by this, and for a couple of weeks my creative juices were knocked – hence the lack of activity on here until now – but at the time I just decided to do my best to turn this negative into a positive.
First of all, I pointed out that the more recent posts might have been different because they were more personal and had more relevance to my life than anyone else’s, and secondly I just told myself there wasn’t that much else wrong with what I’d written. There were no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors (to my knowledge), and even if I didn’t have a big message to spread or point to make, I was doing my best just to raise a smile. There were perhaps different intentions behind it, and therefore a slightly different style – nothing wrong with that! I should add that I’m not angry at my friend for their opinion, and I treat it as constructive criticism because it taught me something about writing. It’s OK to be fluid and to deviate from time to time, because it just develops you more as an individual writer, and if you have serious ambitions like I do it can help you to stand out from the crowd. Actually, this comes at a pretty good time for me. I’ve devised and developed a radio idea I’m very proud of, one that came together fully in a matter of days. A couple of weeks ago I sent it to a production company, having done what I could to ensure it will make the best possible impression there. I’m still waiting for news and I hope it will be good, but I know that even if it turns out not to be what I hope for, I will take some kind of lesson from it.