Writer | Marketer | Creative

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What It Really Means When Someone Criticizes Your Work


Criticism does not mean you're bad, or bad at what you do. What it means is that something wasn't a good fit.

Either what you've created wasn't a good fit for the audience it was given to, or the results didn't fit with someone else's expectations. Particularly in digital content, there's commonly people - "trolls" - who will condemn your work with an elaborately creative sailor's tongue. But keep this in mind. This is what it really means when someone criticizes your work.

Criticism, or lack thereof, is not a good indicator of how good or bad you are. I know this because of the reaction I get when I write. When I publish something decent, I get more views, more shares, possibly a few encouraging comments.

When I publish something dreadful, I get silence. Nothing happens. Unless you're specifically asking for feedback from every individual person, the indicator of how good or bad something is lies within how much people want to consume it. But then, you also have to know who your audience is, and generally what will be a good fit for them.

Out of the 200+ posts I've published in the last year, I can only remember seeing criticism on two. That does not mean I'm good at what I do, because when I've published something bad enough to be worth criticizing (which has happened more than I care to admit), I've gotten silence. Good work gets praise. Bad work just gets ignored - if you're putting your work in front of the right people.

There will always be a rogue narcissist tearing apart anyone they can find. But if and when you do find yourself attacked heavily by these megalomaniacs, it probably means you're in the wrong place. Your work isn't a good fit for that particular audience. Even if you're brand new at what you do and absolutely suck at it (because we all do when we start), you won't be attacked and condemned unless you're in the wrong place.

If you're in the right place, then you have a target audience who's interested in your subject matter, and/or wants to help you grow. Where this sweet spot is will be different for everyone, but there is this nirvana for everyone. (If you'd like some help figuring out where is a good place for you, just ask! I'll be happy to help where I can.)

When someone criticizes your work, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're bad or that your work was bad. It means what you created wasn't a good fit for who received it. But there is a perfect fit for you and your work to grow and develop. Even if it takes time to find, it's out there.