One of the hardest lessons you’ll likely have to learn in life is how to take criticism. When you master this, you open up to greatness.
For anyone who shares a part of her soul with others, criticism is extremely hard, but oh so necessary. Whenever you put your work out for public consumption, you have to be okay with knowing your work is not going to be taken in with open arms by everyone.
The hardest part of criticism is you never know how this feedback is going to be delivered. Sometimes, it’s offered in a sincere gesture that’s packaged up neatly and as gently as possible. But, not often. Most times, it’s tossed at you in hurtful lashes, poking at not only the work you’ve done, but at your personal side as well.
I had one hurtful piece of criticism that tormented me for a long time. Here’s what happened. I had narrated one of my novels, The Muse, for Audible, and it took me years to record and produce it. Keep in mind, I worked tirelessly, giving all the love I had to that book. And in one sentence, all that hard work shattered before me when someone took a personal jab at a part of me. She made my fun of the way I said my ‘S’. She made fun of something I wasn’t even aware of, and it hurt like hell. Suddenly, I was self-conscious of it. I heard the mispronounced S I hadn’t before heard from the past forty some odd years of being alive.
I began searching YouTube for any videos I could find that could help me get rid of this so-called speech impediment a complete stranger told me I had. One that I apparently should never allow anyone to listen to because it might hurt their ears.
I searched and searched and found a few videos that offered exercise ideas. These ideas simply didn’t solve my issue. That criticism sat in my stomach like a rock, as a result.
So there I stood one day, in front of my recording studio. My spouse had built it for me to record my books for Audible. This recording studio cost thousands of dollars to create.
Time to Contemplate
What would I do now? Do I dare record another book? If not, what the hell was I going to do with all that wasted equipment and the special soundproof space my spouse so carefully constructed for me? Was I to sell everything on eBay?
Well, I couldn’t let that happen. So, I attempted to begin narrating another book. I stopped after the first page because my darn S echoed like an off-beat string of musical notes in my ears. In fact, I could hear nothing but that prolonged S. As a result, I never read another one of my novels for Audible again.