Writing Tip of the Day: Maintain Your Cool

picture-3It’s easy to get overheated as a writer. You put your talent out there to be observed, reviewed and critiqued and sometimes the criticism is unfair, biased or just plain nasty.

Blog comments, editor’s remarks, reader mail – it all has the potential to give you a serious case of the grumps, but keeping your cool in the line of fire can make you a better writer.

Instead of blasting a rude blog comment, taking a deep breath and responding in a professional manner, if a response is warranted, will go a long way in establishing your reputation as a pro who can take the heat with grace.

Firing back at an editor can earn you a reputation as “hard to deal with” whether fair or not, engaging in positive, constructive conversation (at least on your end) will earn you respect and will help you and your editor reach common ground.

Think of it as a writing exercise – you want to say “Go to Hades you life sucking troll! You wouldn’t know good writing if it showed up sitting on your morning donut.” Now think of a creative, positive and constructive way to voice both your concern and willingness to seek common ground.

How do you handle criticsm? Share your thoughts with us!

Comments

  1. If it is a commenter to a post, I usually try to gently persuade them into a toned down exchange. If I fail, then I ignore it.

    A response via reviews will get no less than a thank you. If there are three or more negative reviews, I carefully weigh what was said about my writing and try yo determine if there were commonalities in the responses. If there were, then a rewrite/resubmission is in order. If not, I let it go with a simple thanks.

    Editors are clients and I’ll kiss their butts all day long; no matter if they use perfumed toilet paper or not. Unless of course I get the inkling I’m being toyed with. Then I’ll state my case.

  2. I remember having a new editor on board at a magazine I write for. My first submission she critiqued was quickly returned with a note telling me to “never start a story with a quote”. She told me to re-do the beginning and get it back to her. I toyed around with another “grabber”, came up with one of my best lead-ins ever, and got it back to her the same day. She accepted it, and thanked me for quick action.
    Even though I didn’t agree with her advice, she was the editor, and the one I had to please before all others. Since then, I’ve begun several articles (for different publications) with a quote, and never had it questioned.
    We can earn favor with editors by getting work submitted by or before the deadline, following word-count restrictions, proofreading our articles carefully, and responding quickly when asked to make changes.

  3. Terreece, great points you’ve made here. No editor wants to deal with a difficult person. There’s a difference between assertive and difficult, too, and it’s important to not get them confused. You can be assertive and stand up for yourself and your work without being unreasonable.

  4. The happiest moment of my writing carrier was the time I saw my first article was in print. I was overwhelmingly happy. Got the news paper to the school where I tought and even showed to my students who were equally happy. It was about my trip to the jungle in search of elephants. I went alone with no fire arms.

    An unforgettable moment with lots of excitements and joys…

  5. Great points – and just in the nick of time. Are you reading my mind this week? :)

    I’ve been writing for a website for over a year (over 300 articles in all so far) and recently came upon someone who has made it very clear that she wants my job – she posts her desire on her blog, has sent me emails asking how she can break into the niche, told me she sent an email to my editor, and she never fails to leave condescending comments on the website I write for. So far, I’ve managed to reply professionally to the comments and her emails, but to be honest, it’s really beginning to get under my skin and I’m afraid it’s going to start tainting my work.

    I can’t seem to figure out how to say, “enough is enough” without losing my cool.

    Advice? Suggestions?

    • I say beat her. Find a bat and break her fingers LOL! Seriously, just joking. The best way to beat a wanna be is to work hard, deliver clean, consistently fantastic work. Make yourself irreplaceable. If you are a great writer, always on deadline, bringing in the web hits, creating buzz & networking for the site than a newbie writer has nothing on you. Editors love a sure thing. When you have a winner it doesn’t make sense to put money and reputation on the line trying out someone new just because they “really want” the gig.

      Maintain your composure will continually set yourself a part from the pack, including this writer who I have a feeling is being pretty obvious and desperate and desperate is never cute. LOL! Good luck & breathe & think before you craft your responses.

  6. An old saying says, “You can catch more flies with honey.” And it is true with articles, too … you can catch more gigs if you can put aside your pride and work with your editor. Everyone likes to work with someone who is easy to work with. Do it right and you will find yourself getting repeat offers.

  7. Thanks, Terreece – your pep talk has really helped me to see that I’m simply stressing out about someone that doesn’t have the experience, writing skills and professionalism that I do. :)

    Not only that, but you’ve reminded me that not only do I write for the site, but I also assist with the site maintenance, write all of the site and resource guides, edit all content and have a very good working relationship with everyone involved.

    Thanks so much for providing the clarity I needed! :)

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