How to keep criticism from making me uncomfortable with my books' world

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Thread: How to keep criticism from making me uncomfortable with my books' world

  1. #1

    How to keep criticism from making me uncomfortable with my books' world

    Just recently I published a revised version of my series' second book, with a new title and cover. However, despite all the hard work editing which lasted for months, the reactions are still the same as with the previous version. Although these came from 4-star reviews, the criticism dominated over the positive reactions in my mind. So I took the book off the market and submitted it to another editor for critique and asked them to address the issues the reviews said. Then it will go back on the market, hopefully in a month or two from now.
    For the first time ever, those criticisms have made me very, very uncomfortable thinking about my book's world. Until now, I loved daydreaming about my characters, scenes, book events, and much more. I even liked to make up my own silly videos about them in my head (like if someone counted down the best moments so far). Anyway, that has now gone so faint and I feel too uncomfortable just picturing the characters in my head. This has never happened to me before. I adore my characters, scenes, and the whole series world. I want to daydream about them again like crazy.
    Now I am working on ways to overcome my sensitivity. For instance, I am seeing a therapist and taking yoga, although they are not related to my writing's reactions. But I think I can still apply those techniques to help myself overcome unpleasant criticism.
    A while back, I had been too uncomfortable with negative reviews that I declared that I would stop reading them forever if they were on my books. I did try again a few times. But, unfortunately, they still hurt me badly. I won't say that I'll never read another negative review of my books again (if the rating is 2 or 1 star), but as of now, I still feel like I need a break from them. Eventually, I will read them again. That will be when I feel less sensitive and have far thicker skin. I think the therapy and yoga should play a role to helping me be less sensitive to anything unpleasant. That can, hopefully, train my brain to not take negative feedback, regardless of whether it's from 4 stars or 1 star, personally.
    But I don't want criticism from 4-star reviews wiping out my happiness daydreaming about my books and characters and planning the stories and literary elements. I was so close to my book's world. It was crazy. When I learned more about the "Harry Potter" franchise through YouTube videos, I would constantly (to myself) compare how things were different in my books. Occasionally, I would think certain aspects in my books cooler (in my head, of course, as well as my opinion). Now I feel that everything has faded. Even when I got negative reviews of the old editions, I didn't feel disconnected from my books' world nor did I feel too uncomfortable thinking about a single character.
    I do enjoy playing out scenes in my head that excite me. Sometimes, when no one's around, I will speak in my characters' voices (how I envisioned them) like rehearsing for a one-person play. I need to undo this reversed excitement. I don't want to give up my series totally. The new first book is already getting better reviews than in the previous one from 2013. I'm having my third book's revised synopsis edited. I'm also starting a pre-first draft for my fourth book, which is a sloppy idea of the story so short and bad that it's not good enough to be a first draft. It's getting the most basic ideas down. Back to this, though, I know I need to develop a thicker skin for criticism beyond just therapy and yoga. I doubt it'll happen overnight. But what else could I do to let go of the criticism and stay comfortable with my books' world and characters? I'm about to go to bed. But, then again, reversing the discomfort back won't happen overnight. My 3rd book synopsis critique and my 2nd book manuscript critique will be back to me next week. I don't want to feel this way when they documents return. Although not reading any reviews of my books, even if they are 5-star, isn't a smart choice, either, like with the negative reviews, I feel a temptation to try that. I know I shouldn't.
    Children's Fantasy Author
    Hidden Content

    Purchase my book at Hidden Content

  2. #2
    You should really try and stay away from reviews. Reading's subjective, and you're always going to get a love/loathe response. The one response you don't want? People not reading them at all. But the fact that you're stirring emotion, even critical -- is good!! I know it's hard not reading reviews, but they're not really for you. They're for other readers. You learn from betas, editors etc, but ideally leave readers alone to enjoy reading and reviewing: they're not talking to you. It's a good buffer zone that allows you to keep enjoying what you're doing, to be honest.
    Running on Id, no Ego or Super-ego at the helm

    Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Yeah, I was actually considering not reading any reviews until I publish the re-edited version.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sunaynaprasad View Post
    Yeah, I was actually considering not reading any reviews until I publish the re-edited version.
    I've just checked your work on Amazon, sunay. You're doing a fantastic job! Don't let the reviews steal your enjoyment of doing it. We all go through doubts, and it's normal, so just try and cut down on what draws those doubts in, like the crit in reviews. Stay in your head space: it's a good place and something you control.
    Running on Id, no Ego or Super-ego at the helm

    Hidden Content

  5. #5

  6. #6
    This is all about our mental conditioning. Personally, I get hurt and defensive when my work is critiqued negatively too. It makes me want to tell them how good this part is and how deeply I plotted that part out. It's natural. Our works are our children, after all. We don't want anyone saying bad things about them. Still, this is the reality of writing. People will like what we wrote and people will not like what we wrote. It depends upon the reader. To make things better or to make us feel better, I think we just need to accept that reality. Take the negative reviews as a challenge or a lesson. Show them you can write better or take their criticisms constructively so you can write better. Don't let them get to you. You are a writer. You love writing, your world, your characters, all of it. Don't allow other people to take that joy away from you. A tip: Try talking to your characters. Confide in them that you're losing interest, ask them how it can be better. Answer in their point of view and reminisce how you loved these characters in the first place. As for your world, take comfort in knowing that it is your creation. None of those critics created a world as awesome as yours, so who are they to say it's not good? We feel down with the negativities and criticisms, but try to see the good in the bad. Optimism will bring that love back.


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