How To Deal With Critique: 2 Of The Most Hurtful Things People Have Said


As you probably know I thought I was writing a book.  Haha.  I’m still writing the book… don’t worry.

I finished the content and sent off some sample chapters for endorsement.  I sent it to an author who inspired the writing of my book.  I was excited when he told me to send the endorsement request!

I was not excited when I got his response:

“Bluntly, in my opinion, you do not have a manuscript worth publishing! How is that for being direct! Jim, you ramble.  Then you flat out knock two other books that have stood the test of time through several printings.  Your two sample chapters—they each have a nugget of truth that could be said in a single sentence.

I am sorry, but there would have to be a major…MAJOR…rewriting to put a positive tone on such an important subject for me to add an endorsement to it.”


It immediately reminded me of a critique I got on in 2006 of a photo I took in Prague.  Part of the critique was

“In short, with due respect, this is one of the worst photos I have seen critique requested since I’ve been”

Haha.  Man.  Sometimes you have to laugh otherwise you’ll cry right?  There was a little bit of me that wanted to crawl in a hole and never come back out, I’ll be honest.

Why is it that negative words repeat in your head over and over again but the positive things people say about you get questioned for authenticity?

“You don’t have a manuscript worth publishing.”
“You ramble.”
“They each have a nugget of truth that could be said in a single sentence.”
“This is one of the worst photos I have seen critique requested.”

I’m honestly doing okay.  Which I’m surprised at, I think at any other time in my life those words would have crushed me.  I guess I’m growing and maturing.

I did a Doing Ministry Well interview with Steve Sprague which will be released soon.  Steve is the headmaster at Trinity Christian School in Kailua and his 3rd tip on doing ministry well was something along the lines of  be humble, there’s a temptation to want to puff yourself up and feel like as a leader you have it all together, but the reality is that no one is perfect.  Because of that, there needs to be an honest feedback loop for people to speak into your life.

You’ve got to chew the proverbial meat and spit out the bones.  Sometimes idioms make no sense.  Most of the time I call into question if I’m quoting them correctly.  Anyway, I’m rambling.  😉

Put an end to the downward spiral of replaying the negative words over and over again.  DO NOT ALLOW IT.  Seriously, it does you no good.  Take a snap shot of it, find the truth in it, apply the truth and then let it go.

My take away truth?  Lets get some more eyes on this book before it goes to be published, uh, which is now a lot further away than June that I thought.  But that’s okay.  I would rather release a quality product.  I’m glad that I set a hard deadline to get as far as I have, otherwise I’d still be poking at this book for the next 10 years.  I’ve got the skeleton, rambling and all, of a good book.

Refining is real.  And sometimes refining hurts.

I had a friend go through and edit my initial draft quite at the beginning of the year.   She referenced a portion of my book where I mention two other resources and told me it came across negatively.  I rewrote it trying to better communicate what I was saying but obviously I’m still not communicating what I’m trying to say, as referenced with this latest endorsement fail.   Today, I got another endorsement denial referring to that same portion.  Man, communicating clearly is DIFFICULT.

Humility is having an accurate view of yourself.  Here’s my reality.  This is my first attempt at writing a book.  I have no formal writing training and I’m moderately successful at actually doing task at which I’m writing about.  I bring to the table a different voice and perspective than what is out there.

It was suggested to me that I read up more on fundraising before going back and writing again.  I looked up the resource that was suggested.  It’s $60 and 238 pages.  That FEELS inaccessible.  Is the reality that investing $60 and maybe a month or two or more of study would GREATLY benefit our support long term?  Yes.  But I’m writing the book that I want to read.  And I represent a tribe that’s following the call of God on their lives, most with no college degree that don’t have 60 extra dollars anywhere.

Maybe I’ll keep that part in the book and add the above paragraph just to be controversial.  Controversy is good for sales right?

I think this was suppose to be a how to post.  It didn’t turn into that.  Someone call me an editor!

What’s the hardest critique you’ve gotten?  How did you deal with it?

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JuliaJune 8, 2015 - 5:15 pm

Great read! Its difficult for me to think about the hardest critiques I’ve gotten. Vague research paper feedback from college professors and immature ex-bf comments come to mind, but its difficult to actually remember exactly what they were and how I dealt with it… and I think I prefer it that way. haha I’m not at your point of maturity yet =/

I liked the comparison you made of how we receive positive and negative comments, SO TRUE!And I def will take your advice : “Put an end to the downward spiral of replaying the negative words over and over again. Take a snap shot of it, find the truth in it, apply the truth and then let it go.”

Thanks for this post! :)

Jim BakerJune 12, 2015 - 12:02 pm

thanks for reading and commenting Julia! Negative words are nasty and when we dwell on them we get tripped up. See you SOON!

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