Inspiration for Writers

OH NO! A Harsh Critique!

Sherry Kyle Sherry Kyle here, writing from California. Last week was an exciting one for me. I signed two book contracts—one for another nonfiction girl’s book with Legacy Press, and the other for my second contemporary novel with Abingdon Press. I’ve entered the world of having deadlines before the books are complete. Kind of scary . . . yet thrilling! Thanks for allowing me to share my good news with you!

Today I want to encourage you to keep writing even when you receive a harsh critique. If you’ve taken the step to submit your writing, you’ve experienced some negative response. Hopefully, you’ve taken what’s been given as constructive criticism. But let’s be honest, building a thick skin is tough.

So, how do we stay positive after a hard critique? Let me give you a few pointers that have helped me (and others writers I know) through the years.

  • Don’t read a critique before going to bed. Seriously! I’ve lost sleep over a critique and would’ve saved myself from worry and heartache if I’d had waited till the morning. A new day brings perspective.
  • Don’t throw your manuscript in the trash. Sometimes, minor tweaks make a world of difference.
  • Don’t give up! A friend of mine came really close to giving up after several hard critiques. Her tenacity to keep going really inspired me. Hard work does pay off!
  • Do read comments with an open mind. Being defensive won’t help your manuscript be the best it can be. Let some time pass (as much as you need) and reevaluate.
  • Consider the source. I had a writer friend (who writes in a different genre) offer to critique my entire manuscript. After a time, it became apparent she didn’t understand my genre and we were not a good fit. My agent encouraged me to gently decline the critique. It was the best decision for me. Remember, you don’t need to agree with everything other’s say about your manuscript.
  • Find a critique group you trust. I recently received a hard critique from a member of my critique group. Needless to say, I was disheartened. But you know what? She was right. I was able to go through my manuscript and change the spots that needed work because I value her opinion and trust her judgment.
  • Realize a manuscript is never perfect. Need I say more?

Getting a thick skin is tough, but with God’s help we can keep moving forward with our writing goals. 

Psalm 31:24 says, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” 

Sherry Kyle lives with her husband and four kids in Central California. She likes to read, take walks by the beach, share a cup of coffee with a friend, and spend time with her family. She is the author of The Christian Girl's Guide to Style and Delivered with Love.