You’ve spent a large part of your working week perfecting that ever-so-important ‘landing page’ or blog post for a new client.
You’ve done the best you could and now you are eagerly awaiting their feedback.
The sound of each new email as it makes its way to your inbox prompts you to check and see if the client has finally written back. By now, you are unable to handle the suspense of not knowing. There are butterflies in your stomach.
And finally, the judgment arrives.
You take a deep breath and open the email with child-like excitement, hoping to get a pat on your back for a job well done. Alas! That pat on the back that you were counting on has just turned into a rude shock.
The client does not have a single nice thing to say about your work. Your content lacks structure, the flow is incorrect and the tone is all wrong.
Everything that could possibly go wrong has in fact, gone WRONG.
You’re shattered as you read and re-read the email, dripping with hurtful criticism.
The client’s words now take on a life of their own as they begin to haunt you, day and night. Yes, you have lost a client but now you are also losing your passion and motivation to write as you fear more negative feedback.
DEALING WITH CRITICISM AND REJECTION WITHOUT BURNING OUT
Opprobrium, disapproval, condemnation or fault-finding, call it what you like – we all face criticism and rejection at some point in our life or the other.
When someone criticizes us or reminds us of our shortcomings, our first instinct is to defend ourselves and deny their claims. Handling criticism isn’t easy, especially when you’ve given your 101% to a job – only to be told that you are no good.
However, if you’re a writer, you may find criticism coming your way quite often and like it or hate it, there is nothing you can do about it.
Writers deal with rejection a lot of times, period.
After all, your writing voice is unique and there is absolutely no guarantee that everyone who reads your work is going to identify with your voice. You know what?
Many people may hate what you write but there will be just as many people out there who are going to love what you have to say and how you say it.
These are your people – celebrate them.
WHEN REJECTION AND WRITING CRITICISM BECOME POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTS
On the face of it, rejection of any kind hurts big time. Being rejected is akin to being told that you are not good enough and that you have failed.
However, not all criticism is bad and a lot depends on how you choose to channel this criticism.
Let’s say you’re dressed for a party and your friend tells you that the colour you are wearing is not suiting you.
Hearing their feedback, you can either become terribly self-conscious or you can keep their advice in mind and the next time you’re out shopping, you can experiment with newer colors.
Who knows, your friend’s feedback may help you to find your dream outfit in a color that you would have otherwise never tried.
Sometimes a content writing client’s constructive criticism is exactly what you need to become a more focused and determined writer.
The right kind of feedback on your writing can give you the determination and the drive to outdo your previous performances and push yourself like you never have before.
4 SUPERPOWERS TO HANDLE REJECTION AND CONTINUE WRITING
Writer’s doubt is inevitable and so is writing criticism. The moment you accept these two realities about your writing journey, you will become an unstoppable writer. But first, you must learn to handle writing criticism.
When you’re struggling to recover from someone’s negative remarks about your writing, dig deep inside and use these superpowers to recover from rejection and continue writing –
WE WIN SOME, WE LOSE SOME – THE POWER OF ACCEPTANCE
When you put your heart and soul into writing a piece, it is natural to be emotionally involved with the outcome and when the feedback from your audience or your client is short of your expectations, feeling disappointed is unavoidable.
So while feeling down and out after a perceived defeat is unproductive, it is also essential to deal with the feelings of ‘not being good enough’.
The one superpower that always comes to my rescue in such times is the power of acceptance.
Accept that you messed up. Accept that you didn’t hit a home run this time. Accept that you slipped and then move on to try again. From acceptance comes liberation.
You can’t please everyone so why even try?
Simply accept the fact that you will not be the right fit for some writing clients and that is fine.
Do what you have to do to deal with this disappointment – take a writing break, indulge in your favourite hobby, treat yourself to a chocolate bar – and let it pass.
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT – THE POWER OF ANALYSIS
You’ve just received a bad review from an important content writing client and you have lost the project for good. Or your quote for a large project has been rejected. What should you do now?
After acceptance comes analysis.
It is time to use the power of analysis to handle rejection like a pro.
Start by going over the client’s emails to re-discover their expectations from this project and think about the reasons why you think you let them down.
You will be surprised to know that it is not always about you.
- Was there some sort of miscommunication between you and the client?
- Did the client answer all your questions?
- Did you require more direction?
- Were any last-minute changes made to the client’s brief?
The power of analysis has always helped me to seek the reasons why a project may have fallen apart, and thus, handle writing criticism.
Yes, a few times I was the one who had erred and analyzed the situation helped me to learn valuable lessons. However, in a majority of situations, the reasons had nothing to do with me (unwillingness of the client to provide additional information despite repeated requests, lack of clarity and loopholes in communication, etc).
In fact, clients, who had earlier rejected my quote or stopped their project midway due to their own reasons later came back, proving to me that it is okay to allow yourself to have the benefit of the doubt.
It’s not always about you!
LEARNING CURVE – THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
In the professional world, there is no hand-holding. You are pretty much on your own and in the absence of teachers or professors to guide you; criticism often plays the role of an educator.
From analysis comes learning.
The next time you receive a rejection or bad review, look for your mistakes and learn from them –
- Did you do enough research before writing the content?
- Could you have asked better questions to receive more detailed answers from the client?
- Perhaps you didn’t research the market rates and your quote was too high?
Though receiving negative feedback from clients, readers or publishers is tough, valid criticism is helpful as it provides a unique opportunity to learn from your mistakes, to grow each day and to improve at your craft.
In addition to a bruised ego, criticism gives us the incentive to move beyond the roadblocks and to prove ourselves.
So whenever you feel the strain of condemnation, use the power of positivity to think of negative feedback as a quintessential part of your career growth and your learning curve towards becoming a great writer.
Instead of letting your critics bring you down, use the power of positivity and focus to learn from any and every writing criticism you receive.
Soon, criticism will cease to stop you in your tracks and instead, motivate you to excel!
YOU WERE BORN TO WRITE – THE POWER OF SELF-TALK
Rejection can entice the best of us to throw in the towel, stash away our notebooks and look for alternative career options.
When you find yourself fighting hard with writer’s doubt and writer’s rejection, look back and think about all the reasons why you started writing and still love to write?
Was it because you wanted to impress others or because you felt you had a story to tell and that you were born to write?
If you are passionate about the work you do and believe that you were born to write, you will never give up simply because someone else cannot see value in what you do or what you have to say.
Positive thinking leads to positive action.
When you begin to second-guess yourself or fear rejection, use the power of positive self-talk to chase away negative thoughts. Spend the next couple of minutes to recount your strengths as a writer and go over the projects you have successfully completed.
My journey as a freelance writer has taught me to see the good in every situation. In hindsight, I have always realized that the projects I lost out on were actually not the right fit for me.
Positive affirmations help me to embrace a positive mindset.
Here are some of my favourite writing affirmations –
- I am a dependable writer.
- I am a capable writer.
- I have what it takes to succeed as a writer.
- Rejection cannot and will not stop me from succeeding.
- I have excelled before and I will excel again.
Now that you have dealt with criticism and put your doubts and fears of rejection aside, it’s time to move on to brighter things.
Start by refocusing on your writing goals. Make a fresh to-do list and put down your next step towards achieving your writing dreams.
By mastering the art of acceptance, analysis, positivity, and self-talk, you can overcome and handle writing criticism, deal with writer’s rejection and continue doing what you know you were born to do.
I hope I have been able to motivate you to keep on writing.
Do you struggle with the fear of criticism and rejection? How do you handle it?
Feel free to share your comments in the section below.