Have you ever had one of those days where you couldn’t get anything done because a hurtful situation was on instant replay in your mind? Maybe it was a bad review of your book or an emotional conversation with a friend or being treated unfairly at work or your kids not listening to you for the thousandth time.
That was me today. And with the release of 18 Thoughts, the final book in my 18 Things trilogy, coming in January, I thought today was good training. Because while I know plenty of people will LOVE the ending of my book, just as many could hate it. Knowing how to handle criticism is essential in life and especially if you want to last in the publishing business.
My initial reaction to criticism is usually the need to tell my side of the story, to prove I’m right and they’re wrong. But this holiday season, as I listen to my favorite Christmas carol, Silent Night, it’s been a reminder to find a quiet place before I respond instead . . . whether it’s eating lunch in my classroom while listening to my iTunes, taking the dog around the block, reading a book in my bedroom, enjoying a relaxing bubble bath, playing around on Pinterest, or sitting quietly on my back porch. Why? Because in the quiet, things make more sense. Having some quiet time brings me to a more rational place where I can respond to the situation with truth. Because in the quiet, I’m able to put myself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they said what they did, even if I don’t agree with it.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is even though multiple people are involved in the same situation, nobody sees things from the same perspective. So when we’re dealing with high emotions, whether it’s in a real relationship or with our book boyfriends, keep that in mind. Give your friend, coworker, family member, fellow author, or book reviewer the benefit of the doubt before you criticize them or respond to their criticism (and by the way, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t ever respond to a mean book review).
With my next book release, I hope to stay ahead of the game by scheduling in some relaxation during the six week media blitz. Maybe if I pencil in some down time to relax and breathe, I’ll be able to respond with integrity when someone criticizes me because I’m not already pulling myself in a million different directions.
This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We meet around the blogosphere the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to join us anytime and thanks to this month’s wonderful co-hosts: