Last, but not least, the final of my tips for beginning writers:
5. Develop a thick skin.
Criticism hurts. We’re sensitive creatures, with fragile egos. It hurts when someone points out our personal faults, dislikes our clothing, or belittles our taste in music. It also hurts when someone doesn’t like the piece of writing we’ve spent hours and hours working on. But it happens. All the time. A writer needs to get used to it.
Every writer needs to develop a thick skin. Everyone is not going to like your work, no matter how good it might be. Everyone doesn’t like anything. So be prepared. And learn to tell the difference between constructive criticism and destructive negativism. Constructive criticism can be useful. It can help you become a better writer. Someone reads your story and tells you that the ending didn’t do it for them. Perhaps it felt anti-climactic, or rushed. Okay. The writer needs to put the sting of the criticism aside and look at the story again. Is the ending a let down? Did you rush things?
Destructive criticism, on the other hand, is not even worth your time. The person who tells me my story is garbage brings up two possible responses from me. Either I ask them what, specifically, makes them say that, or, more often, I simply express regret that they didn’t like it and walk away. You can’t please everyone and there are some people that just don’t want to be pleased. If they can’t help me improve my writing, why waste my time? Or theirs? I certainly won’t convince them the story is actually good.
Every writer needs the ability to not take every criticism as a personal attack and we certainly cannot let it discourage us. One needs to listen to the constructive observations of flaws in your work and use them to make it better. With everything else, you need to be able to smile, shrug, and move on.