Quick Digression: On Thinking about Criticism of Our Work

I was doing some clean-up work on the blog and came across this post from last year. It seems so apropos to so many of us as we solicit criticism through agents’ and editors’ rejections. It was a good reminder for me.

Just Can't Help Writing

I came across an article in today’s New York Times, “Learning to Love Criticism” by a writer named Tara Mohr. She is meditating on a study that found that in performance reviews on the job, women receive many more (and more personal) criticisms than do men. The column discusses strategies for defusing the debilitating pain of such challenges to a person’s sense of self-worth and to the value of her work. It occurred to me as I read that some of her points might apply to writers of all genders, in particular this passage.

Women [and others faced with negative reactions from critics of their work] can also benefit from interpreting feedback as providing information about the preferences and point of view of the person giving the feedback, rather than information about themselves. In other words, a negative reaction from five investors doesn’t tell a woman anything about the…

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