Why You Need Selective Hearing

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Today’s post is aimed mostly at writers, but I think every person on this planet can benefit from it. I’m talking about why we need to have selective hearing in order to succeed.

The publishing industry is filled with a lot of criticism. It’s there when you are learning craft. It’s there when you’re seeking representation or trying to land a publishing contract. It’s even there when you are a NYT bestselling author. Criticism is something you can never be free of. In many cases it’s a good thing. Aspiring authors need constructive criticism to improve their craft. It’s something they need to listen to if they want to reach their ultimate goal. But it can be so easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of it all. To doubt yourself. To get discouraged. This is why writers need to have ultimate belief in themselves, to know they will meet their goal, no matter how long it takes or how hard it sometimes feels. They need to practice selective hearing.

When you are receiving critiques or reading reviews, take those parts that work for you—that you truly feel will make you a better writer—and dismiss the rest as utter nonsense. Know that you have stories to tell, and trust that there are others in the world who will want to hear them. Because no one else will ever believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.




19 thoughts on “Why You Need Selective Hearing

    Amber Keller said:
    June 8, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Well said! It can be hard, but ultimately it is a stepping stone forward and can be used as such. Improving from criticism would seem to be the best way to handle it.
    Take a step back and breathe. Like you said, it will always be there. Best to use it.
    Thanks for saying this!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Critiques have their place, and they are important, but they must also be taken for what they are: an attempt to improve writing. I’ve heard so many writers say they’ve received critiques basically saying, “You’ll never be a published author.” Maybe that was just their impression or maybe the critiques really did say that, but critiques like that should be taken for what they are: utter trash. If you’re dream is real, don’t let anyone steal it.

    kayspringsteen said:
    June 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

    My crit partners are wonderful. We have an ability to joke about the crits we do. It’s lighthearted and fun. I have a great relationship with my editor and that’s great. Then they reviews started rolling in and I was on cloud nine. People liked my writing. But then I got a less than stellar review, It wasn’t bad, just wasn’t great. It took a few days to grow a skin thick enough to scar over. Then I took what was said and what felt relevant to my career direction and decided to use it to improve my ability to reach people. What didn’t work for me, I chalked up to my writing just not being the reviewer’s cup of tea. It happens. But a thicker skin at the time sure would have taken the sting out.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

      I guess it takes time to build up the callouses, LOL. I make it an effort not to seek out reviews of my book. If I happen upon them, great, but I have to force myself not to obsess.

        kayspringsteen said:
        June 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

        I was still new enough to being published this was the morning after opening night kind of thing. Now I just consider the sales as my gauge.

    Brinda Berry said:
    June 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Do I hear an amen? LOL. Yes, a thick skin and selective hearing is highly recommended. 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Yes! Takes time to build, but it’s pretty necessary.

    Barbara Westbrook said:
    June 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Great post, and one that needs to be listened to. My skin is very thin, but i know just from having my ms read by different friends and family–some loved it–some were, shall we say. lukewarm. It just wasn’t their cup of tea. And that’s ok. We all don’t like the same thing. My first book is due out in July and I’m already trying to gear myself for the less than stellar reviews.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

      And they’ll come. Reviewers do the wierdest things. Sometimes it feels like they’re taking out the stress of their day on the author. But in the end, I try to remember that not everyone likes the same things. And thank God! How boring would that be?

    Cassandra said:
    June 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I call it ‘pulling on my Elephant skin pants.’

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    June 8, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I think we are hard enough on ourselves, at least most of us are. It’s rough when we hear it from everyone else too! No…actually constructive criticism is a good thing . Helps us improve. Nastiness is simply nastiness. Not useful at all.
    Rejection is another animal altogether. You need a very thick skin to deal with rejection.

    Dawn Marie Hamilton said:
    June 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hi, Rosalie. I know it’s cliché, but I believe we learn from every experience, both positive and negative. As writers, negative feedback can be painful, but we need to develop a tough hide and move forward.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t know if I agree that we learn from EVERY experience. Sometimes people are just mean: whether they’re in a bad mood or genuinely can’t connect to your work. I guess what you’d learn from dealing with someone like that is not to deal with them again, LOL.

    Katalina Leon said:
    June 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I welcome constructive criticism even when it’s hard to hear but I tune out the folks who are totally out of the ballpark in their criticism or complaints. Rule of thumb: If you can’t see the truth in what someone is saying about your work, the critique will not be useful. Let it go.
    XXOO Kat

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      That’s what’s great about multiple critiques. If more than one or two people are saying the same thing, there’s some relevance in that.

    Rebekah James said:
    June 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I know so many people who need to hear this, myself included. It is so easy to get discouraged, and there are so many sources of negative feedback – on writing and so many other things.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      June 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      There’s a lot of negative feedback in this industry, and it should be weeded out from the constructive stuff…

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