Falling to Safety

Something that you might not know about me and this little blog - I always read my posts to Peter before they go up. He's got good ideas and a great eye for catching mistakes and offering feedback. Several years ago, when I was writing our newsletters (for not-so-fun support raising), we got into some heated battles about what he thought I should change in the letters, and what I thought was just perfect. Needless to say, the first few review sessions ended with him observing, "You don't take criticism well" and me sniffing away because he pointed out the flaws.

He was right.

I'm happy to say that I have toughened up over time, and I have learned that critiques of my writing are not personal attacks - especially from him - and they are helpful for producing a better product. When I started the blog, it was nothing more than a hobby to fill my days. I didn't expect to meet people from all over the world or get a job out of it, so I didn't worry too much about how things looked or what kind of photos I posted. That has obviously changed as the traffic flow as picked up, and I don't put up a post now without getting an opinion from Peter first. He acts as my safety net.

Normally, his comments about what I should tweak in a post act as outside confirmation of what I was already thinking, so changes aren't a big deal. However, last week I had a post written and had included a photo that I was rather proud of (having taken it myself), but when I showed it to him, his reaction was far from what I was expecting. While I didn't burst into tears, we had flashbacks of those newsletter days, and dinner was a rather silent affair.

At first, I had no intention of budging - I didn't see what in the world he was talking about. However, it only took a few minutes for me to realize that whether I agreed or not, I would rather hear that feedback from the person who loves me most in all the world, than unintentionally offend someone I didn't know. Upon further observation of the photo, I could finally see what he saw, and agreed that it should be swapped out for a different picture. No, you're not going to see the photo in question!

Although the disappointment lingered for a little while, I was thankful that my "safety net" kept me from being more embarrassed in a very public setting. I am grateful for the newsletter experiences that taught me about my pride and helped me learn how to accept criticism - as well as how to filter out the good advice from the personal opinions. As it turns out, even editors need an editor at times.

Have you ever had a similar experience?
How well do you handle criticism?


  1. When I used to work for the online magazine, the majority of my work was done as a ghost for the brand - I preferred it, because we didn't have the best network of editors & often I was more nervous than proud to launch each writing. The majority of reviews were all positive, but the were vs. we're and there vs. their flubs did not go unnoticed by me - after the tenth read-through...after published. ;-)

    After the company went out of business & the site was shut down - unarchived - I realized I should have been more proud and kept all those articles for the fun of looking back.

    Keep doing what you're doing & enjoy it - critiques and edits and all!

  2. Well, I am kind of on the flip side of things. I'm the grammarian in our marriage, so I edit all my husband's work. And sometimes he tires of hearing that yet another word is misspelled... and I have had to learn to be more gentle in my critiques. And more patient, less "perfectionistic" with other people's words. It's a hard (but good) lesson for people on either side of criticism.

  3. Ahhh thats hard to take. criticism i mean! I am always quite afraid to show my writing to others particularly fiction. one reason why i get paralysed when it comes to the thought of going to a writers workshop!


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