Why are we so willing to believe the negative and forget about the positive? We could receive a dozen positive reviews about our writing, but it just takes one negative comment for us to break down and cry or to begin doubting our ability to write.
So how do we overcome these bumps in our confidence? Here are a few tips (trust me, I have to remind myself of these on a daily basis):
1. Writing is subjective. There will never be a manuscript that 100% of people will love unconditionally. We all bring our own experience (background knowledge) into what we read. I may like someone's plot because I connect with it, but someone else may hate it because it seems ridiculous. Don't even get me started with characters (just think Team Jacob vs. Team Edward). So it's unrealistic to think that everyone who reads my manuscript will like it (as much as I wish it were possible). We can't get upset when someone has different taste than ours.
Similarly, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses as writers. Sometimes we're more attune to our weaknesses and tend to look for them in our critique partner's writing (maybe because it's at the forefront of our minds when we write). Make sure to take the time to focus on your strengths too.
2. We don't have to give in to every criticism. Just because someone thinks you've done something wrong doesn't mean that you have to change what you've written. As the writer, you ultimately get to decide what your manuscript looks like. If a suggestion makes you feel uncomfortable, don't change it. This even applies to suggestions made by agents and editors. Of course, you run the risk of losing them as agents or editors, but you shouldn't let anyone force you to make changes that you don't want to make.
3. Don't give up! Most writers, at one point or another, have allowed their self-doubt to creep in and make them wonder whether or not they should continue writing. Maybe you gave up a job to become a full-time writer. Maybe you're sacrificing a couple hours of sleep each night. Maybe you've spent oodles of money on a writing workshop or retreat. Don't let one negative comment derail you from your purpose. Instead, take a step back and use it as a learning experience. How can you use it to improve your writing?
What other tips do you have to add? What do you do to get past the negative?