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How to Handle Criticism

Let’s face it: writing is difficult. Sure, it’s easier for some than for others, but almost everyone has to work hard to write well. Your muscles and bones might not be tired when you’re through writing, but your brain will be.

That’s one reason it can be so hard to receive criticism on your writing. When you’ve put all that energy into your work, it can be difficult to hear negative comments about it. When you invest time and effort into something, you want praise, not correction. It’s tough to accept criticism with a good attitude. It requires a great deal of humility and the belief that the best way to grow as a writer is to learn from your mistakes.   

Your writing coach’s job is to read everything you submit and give you feedback. Some of that feedback will be positive. Your coach will always try to point out what you do well. But writing coach feedback will also include pointing out mistakes and offering suggestions for ways to improve your papers. Your writing coach will never do that just to keep you busy or to punish you. She will do it because she thinks it will help you learn to write better.   

You’ll probably never get to meet your writing coach. You can read her bio on the web site, and she might tell you a little about herself when she writes to you, but it will be hard to really get to know her. So, you’ll just have to take our word for it — she’s a really nice person! No kidding — only writing coaches who really like kids are allowed to work for us. Keep that in mind, especially when your writing coach is making critical comments. She is not just being mean.

If you find yourself getting discouraged or feeling picked on, let your coach know in an e‐mail. Sometimes coaches can forget to emphasize the good things in your writing, or they can seem more critical than they intend to be. Help your coach be a better teacher, just as she is trying to make you a better writer.  

Your writing coach will do her best to be kind, positive, and friendly. Your end of the bargain is to listen carefully to the comments you receive and trust that she’s on your side, trying to help you improve. If you’ll make that commitment, you’ll not only learn from your WriteAtHome course, but you might even enjoy it too!