“Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it.” ~ Anonymous
I’ve been writing professionally for thirteen years. Criticism and rejection are the weights that strengthen the writer’s muscle. In order to survive, we must develop a thick skin. New York Times best-selling author, Steve Berry, addressed this while speaking to the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. conference. He advised us to be teachable and listen to the critiques on our prose. Seventy percent may be garbage but thirty percent will be pure gold.
That is good wisdom, not only for writers, but also for life. Oftentimes we mistake honest criticism as personal value statements. I remember when my husband suggested a budget for me to follow. What I interpreted him as saying was, “You are too wasteful with our money.” Anger and offense flew all over me, much to his surprise. What actually precipitated his suggestion was the desire to find more money for me to have for personal use! Oops . . .
In the Bible, James advises, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Good advice. By doing this we might find gold that will help us to do a better job, choose a better way, be a better person.
Elbert Hubbard says, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” We don’t want to be that person, do we? I’d rather be the kind of person Benjamin Franklin describes, “A word to the wise is enough.”
This week, seek gold.