Whenever you put yourself out there, you’re going to get some negative feedback. Depending on how you handle criticism and how it’s given you can either grow from it or die from it.

I’m still learning how to push past critique.

I have always been a sensitive soul. It drives me crazy. I’ve told myself to grow a thick skin and buck up a lot. I have gotten better in the last several years, but harsh words still hurt. I remember taking a photography class in college and our first critique left me in the bathroom in tears. I was hurt and embarrassed. I didn’t want the tears to come but I couldn’t stop them. I told myself what kind of artist could I be, crying in the bathroom over a critique of my lighting?

You must ask yourself if it’s worth it to keep going or if you’re going to give up.

Photography was one thing, writing novels is a whole new game. People tell you your characters are flat, the plot is bland, they don’t like the subject you picked, the middle should be the beginning, and your themes suck.

It’s a harsh world out there and I’ve barely gotten started in it. The first real critique I received left me emotional and ready to quit. I didn’t know how to go on from it. It really wrecked me. I forced myself to read it again, and again, and again. Eventually, I was able to take the words they said and use them to my advantage. I found the nuggets of wisdom in it and kept going. It wasn’t easy though. Because the thing about learning from a critic is allowing yourself to agree with them. To allow yourself to see the flaws and weaknesses in your work. It is the only way to grow and push your art further. You have to hear them out and push through it. Some people will tell you things that don’t matter. You don’t like stories about drugs? My book isn’t for you and that’s ok for me and for you. I don’t like romance, it doesn’t mean romance authors don’t have talent. But if someone tells you a character isn’t three dimensional, maybe you need to step back and look at that, maybe they’re right and you can fix it.

Growing as an artist takes a lot of components. Finding your heroes, consuming a lot of great art, playing, working, and listening to critics. When you listen, you can take it in and push past it. You can choose to keep going and keep enjoying the process of creating.

What is the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?