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Coping with Harsh Criticism

My friend and former student Kirstin Butler wrote a fantastic post on coping with traumatic rejection.

I won’t go into a ton of detail about the feedback itself, because I know it was well-intentioned. But it also contained a few comments — I believe the exact phrase was “total rewrite situation” — that hit me square in the solar plexus. Listen, I will totally own the fact that I’m a sensitive person, particularly so with this book since it’s been my baby for almost three years now, but I do believe there are more and less helpful ways to give criticism. It’s also probably worth noting that of all the responses I received, the only one I internalized was a complete outlier. And that the things this reader said made the draft fundamentally flawed were the very elements all the others had liked best. In other words, taste is subjective and there will always be people that don’t dig what you do because it’s just not their bag.

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