Managing Critisisms as a Writer by Queen Esther Emenike | ACEworld

 
 HOW TO MANAGE CRITICISM
(AS A WRITER I)
That
you have a hubris (writing flaw) doesn`t makes you a bad or poor writer and of
course no perfect write-up ever, that a notable writer or professional
criticized your writing skill doesn`t mortify your writing ability. That others
didn`t see the light in you as a writer rather the spot in your pen, doesn`t
mean you have no light or calling as a writer at all. Like one poet (John
Chizoba Vincent) would always say, “there is a home for every pen”, so
that Mr. B. doesn`t comprehend your message or Mr. A. doesn`t compliment your
writing doesn`t mean Mr. C may not buy to it. It just isn`t Mr A`s or B`s
yearned ware.
There comes a point in
your writing career when you`d have shits thrown at your work, ideas or skills
whether as an upcoming or even established writer, my dear it comes, one thing
you should always bear in mind is; you
must not win everybody in the world
. Even as a business man, everyone must
not be your customer, in life as general, it’s as impossible as living without
air, to please or get everyone to like you or what you do. No matter how
righteous and good Jesus was during His lifetime, He still had a good number of
haters, people who accused him of doing more than he should.
Yes as a writer,
there`d come a time when it seems you`re being too successful with your career
and you find some esteemed writers accusing either your writing styles,
diction, or the theme predominant in your writings etc. but that should not
defocus your mission, rather let it build you up the more.
Learn to convert every
criticism no matter how harsh or destructive it seems to your own gain. A few
weeks ago, I had written in a very popular social group which raised a very
biased dust that only the bravest can master, comments against not just my
writing as a career but against me as a person. My personality and essence was
dragged to the mud especially from persons I least expected.
There were persons whom
I never knew existed in my space, who never surfaced on my wall in any event of
my writings, but came up to blast and jest my writing, they had to question the
rationale behind my reasoning that prompted my scribbling of such for public
consumption.
Well, do you know how I
took the bullet? I just remembered the world is a free space; everyone is
permitted to make their own choices and own their own opinions, so they are
too, because I had actually shared an opinion towards a marital issue. I
garnered from the many critics that some of them actually had rigid points
against mine which I should buy even though they never presented it in a polite
manner, and I did. For sure, I had written a very good piece but it had a very
invisible flaw which most of them pointed out though in a very annoying manner.
Did I respond them? Of course, no! But did I learn from them and probably correct
my impression? Definitely yes! 
That is what criticisms
constructive or destructive should do to you. Don`t allow how harsh a critic or
correction is to cut you bleeding flesh, dust if off, pick up the important
ones among them and improve yourself. No one has the right to disqualify your
essence but you, even God does not. Yes! God does not withdraw your essence
without your permission (i.e. if you`re not making use of it).
The stones were very
hard that I felt I could stand it no more, seriously I thought of quitting
writing. I for the first time questioned my essence as a writer, I wondered if
I actually was gifted with the art of the pen but after a while, I decided to
settle down, take a quick break, I ignored the straying bullets pulling out on me,
I shut the window behind me from the numerous attacks, I had a quiet time with
myself where I had to ruminate over the piece I wrote which raised such dust.
It was at this course I realized that even though the criticisms were harsh, I
had missed a step which I must retrace back but then do I continue to allow
these harsh tongues question my writing ability or gift? Of course, no! None of
them was there when this talent was given me therefore none of them has the
right to validate the gift or not. None of them was there when I was honing my
writing skills, therefore none of them has the right to validate my skills or
not so I moved on.
Also worthy to mention,
in the same piece that raised dust, a few number of them found it worthwhile
therefore related well with it.
The incidence as above
shows that for every work of art, there
is a home for it
(John Chizoba Vincent) would always say.
So keep doing you, most
importantly, keep honing your skill, it`s not enough your talent, develop and
work on improving it, gather more skills and stand out from the rest.
HOW TO MANAGE CRITICISM
(AS A WRITER II)

 

In
the previous piece, I had told a story about how jabs were thrown at a piece of
mine which almost made me quit writing. But I also pointed how I got over it
and moved on.

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To be very honest,
criticisms are good but there are very destructive ones that if the receiver
does not take care could drown in its delusive flood.
Managing criticism is
most times the gap between the matured and immature writer. Most times what
makes you mature and eventually improve or disproves your work as a writer is
your ability to assimilate and make use of the many criticisms that grace your
works. 
Mind you, criticism
forms part of a writer`s improvement when managed well and when you are never
being criticized, it means that you`re repeating trends, no improvement, no new
styles, just same old story over again. So let`s say that you need criticism
for your next level in your writing career as a writer. Although, criticism is
not the only determinant factor for improvement in one`s writing skill, it
forms a major part of your positive development and decisions as a writer.
In this piece, we are
going to talk about criticisms as a destructive agent not the constructive one.
Okay, like I earlier
mentioned, I once had an experience where I found jabs thrown at my piece,
qualified and unqualified elite questioning the rationale behind my pen.
Did I ever feel hurt?
Yes! Was I ever down? Sure! Did I think of giving up writing? Very Well, but
how did I manage to get over it within a very short period of time, and still
writing?
Well at first, I lost my muse. I felt so ashamed of
myself for putting up such even though it was a nice piece on its own. (people`s perception changed mine and
eventually drowned my will to pen more
) that is one of the very steps to
overcoming destructive criticisms.
No criticism however
destructive should change your perception i.e. (goal, vision or mission) of
your pen. I believe that before you put up any write-up, you must have had a
goal in mind of which you want it to achieve. That someone criticized it should
not stray your mind from the fact that it is still capable of achieving the
purpose for which it was written. “The moment you start assimilating your
criticizer`s view that your piece makes little or no sense or has not the
ability to impact, the moment you start losing confidence  in your ability as a writer”.
Shut
down from blabs
– when the criticisms are calling so
strong that it wants to pull you down, please ignore the calls, withdraw to
yourself alone and have a quiet time. This quiet time should be to review the
piece of work in quote and the critics attached to it. Ask yourself certain
questions that will bring you back lively than otherwise. Does this critic
actually make sense? What does it say about or how did it counter my piece of
work? If it makes sense, does it affect all aspect of my work? Does the critic
spoil the overall meaning of my work? etc.
Now what does this
critic say about the overall meaning of my work? If the critic is right, then how do I blend his truth with mine?
This should be the next step. Don`t allow a critic spoil the overall message
that lies within your piece rather see a way of blending his critics in mending
your piece of work. If the criticism is all about how blur your piece seems,
look out for a way or ways to make your piece more visible, (if it requires
employment of more imageries) or its use of metaphor was overrated, (see a way
of reducing and making everything moderate) if it is to spell out some rigid
meanings of metaphor(s) used, it means probably a greater number of your
audience may not really understand or misinterpret the message of your piece
due to the rigid choice of word(s) etc, therefore see how you can spell out the
meaning(s) thereof and still leave your piece of work beautifully blended.
Does
Criticisms define you or your work?
Absolutely no! it only
defines the flaws in a piece of work displayed therefore, do not allow any
criticism no matter how bad, define your whole being as a writer. Don`t let it
tell you that you are not made for this writing stuff. Don`t let it rob the
precious muse in you to write and deliver more, keep pushing. Like I said in
the previous piece, I somehow at a point thought I wasn`t actually made for
writing, “I had to quit!” I said to myself, but then on a second quick thought,
I realized I was pushing it too far, I was allowing the critics push me farther
than it should, “Queen, why not tell yourself the truth? They were right anyways,
even though in a very rough manner, pick up their rights, add to yours and move
on girl. You should write better!” I encouraged myself. Here I am using same
experience to motivate other writers, That`s how it should be! Since then, I
have written lots and more pieces which this is one of them. So we can say the
last step to managing your critics is by using
it to achieve more
instead of the reverse.
I hope this piece
helped someone?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD
CRITICISM?
The
brutality in some critics is out of word, in as much as criticism helps to
retrace the step of an erring individual or piece of work, if not directed well
is also capable of wounding an innocent career or talent. Not just that, it is
also capable of shutting down a talent i.e. dissuade someone from pursuing more
or getting the best out of his or her career, skills or talent.
Knowing when, how and
what to criticize is a very essential step to having a good criticism that will
sure improve rather than impair destiny. As humans, we`re programmed to build
not destroy. Even God is angry with destroyers, He call them wasters; “For
every talent, career or skill you killed, you have frustrated hundreds of other
stars”
this is true because every talent has a star that must not shine
until connected to it, so when you kill it, how does the other stars shine?
Whether you`re aware
your critics did or not hurt a talent to a shut down, isn`t an excuse, that is
why we should always be careful what we say and our attitude to others.
Here`s a good way to
make a good criticism;
First
find out what makes the work unique
. Before a work goes
sour, it must have been tasty. Find out what makes it tasty, start by
complimenting it`s beatific features. Even if you don`t seem to feel or see any
good part of it, try and force a good feature out of it. This is where most
people get it wrong; they just go straight into attacking a piece without first
complimenting its good side. Every piece no matter how weird it seems must
always have a good side. If the good side is not in the diction, it could be in
the overall message of the theme, if it is not in the theme, it may be in the
style, if not in the style, it may be in the use of metaphors etc. just find
out that which makes the piece worthwhile and acknowledge it. You cannot
achieve a good critic without observing this very first step.
Attack
subtly
– don`t use harsh or hurting words because maybe
you can talk or criticize, use meaningful but persuasive words to drive home
your points. This must have been after you acknowledged the strength(s) of the
said piece of work.
Finally, make your critics factual and precise.
Don`t circumvent, come out plain. You don`t tell a writer whose words are
ineffective just to make them lurid without an actual example of what you meant
for instance, it could be the placement of an adjective where a verb is
supposed to be, note the word, spell it out and suggest how best it should have
been.
Here`s a short example
of good critics; “Well, Queen you wrote beautifully well, I think I love the theme
you`re work is trying to depict, however, it didn`t address the issue of
writers who aren`t actually called for the art of the pen. Because truth be
told, you and I knows, not everyone that handles pen is actually a writer, some
are self acclaimed writers. So your piece would have been better if it addressed
the case of writers who write because others write not because they`re actually
called to be writers”. – Jenny O.
“That was a very
educative piece Queen, but there are few misspellings and misuse of figure of
speech for instance, in paragraph two, girls was spelt as girrls while the word
‘gay’ does not really present the actual meaning of your idea as used in the
sentence, try replacing it with ‘excitement’ or some other related word other
than that”.  – Benny Mars.
“Apart from the fact
that you scored a very important point and message, your dictions were poorly
used. Your message isn`t clearly spelt out and this could impede the
comprehension of average readers, I suggest you make use of more lurid words or
metaphors instead”. Vivian T.
“Well you got it right
but at some point, from paragraph two, you started writing off point. Your
message would have gone down well if you hadn`t added that word or soured idea
of yours, Well I understand it’s your idea and everyone is entitled to his or
her own opinion about life, but then, you should do well in looking into the
area where you encouraged neglecting destructive criticisms without warning
against writing because others write”.
In all, let`s learn to
build with our words rather than destroy. Even as you`re managing destructive
criticisms, learn not to be one yourself to others, we grow by building others!
BIOGRAPHY: 
Queen Esther Emenike (BleedingPen) is a young creative writer passionate about correcting ills of the society through the art of the pen. She`s the founder of TEENSpecial, a teens platform established for the interest of the teens and giving them a voice the society will reckon with. She loves reading, dancing, cooking and adventures etc, among other things.