You need to trust that the people whose job it is to provide you criticism are on your team. If you are a writer, your editor is on your team. If you are an actor, your director is on your team. If you are an athlete, your coach is on your team. They are not there to make you feel bad; they are there to make you step up.
Even when you read some of the notes and go, “Not on your life.”
Because let me tell you, every time I get editorial notes, that’s my first response to 80% of them. And then on the second read, I’m like “No, no you are totally right,” about most of those. Read three? “Well, I don’t even care about that issue, so I’m going to trust you on this,” which then leaves me with a few things I’m going to push back on. Often that act of pushing back, even if I don’t take the original note, strengthens the piece.
So to Do the Thing trust the people whose job it is to criticize you. Also trust yourself to both know when to put your foot down and fight for your vision, and trust yourself to realize you won’t break from getting notes. They’re just notes. If your story and your characters and your ego can’t stand up to them, you’ve got bigger problems.
Next week we’ll talk about dealing with the critics who aren’t on your team, finding what’s useful there and letting the rest of it stop you.
But for now, tell us your woes regarding constructive criticism. While we’re staring into our own morass of track changes, we are totally here for you.