How to Deal with Critics


Publish long enough and you’ll eventually run into them: critics.

They can haunt your thoughts. Dog you around every comment section you turn. Make your life hell to the point you might even wonder if publishing was even worth it.

Here’s how to deal with them so you don’t wallow in that despair.


The Hunter S. Thompson approach. The Cat Marnell problem. Not recommended.


When you hide behind a pseudonym, that persona, not you, absorbs the heat. Until you are found out. This could be fun. Or it may simply bring out the monster in you.


Deny criticism. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Calcify in your broken ways.

Assault and battery

Unleash enormous energy on every single person who dares defy you. Repeat until they disappear. Employ approach number one to cope.


Select your target carefully. Respond to those who are the most meaningful by article, comment, or email. You are doing well if you are listening.


Do not respond directly. Instead, tackle the critique obliquely. Listen, evaluate, and expand in another article. Explore. Use criticism to grow. See The Efficient Writer.


You are striking a nerve. You are getting attention. And it might just be meaningful. See above.

Your turn

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Image source: hell

How to Get a Mentor (Free of Charge)

Success as a writer boils down to three things … reading, writing, and feedback.

Absorbing books and blogs. Barreling through a hundred a year. Both old and new. Knowing when to blow through a book in 2 hours  … or abandon it. Developing a wicked vocabulary. The rebellious bent that will elevate you above the noise.

Writing yourself silly. Writing more, then writing less. Mastering the deliberate practice.

And then getting feedback from a professional.

Those three things … that  is exactly what I told Ryan Hanley last week during his Content Warfare podcast in response to a reader question.

The first two are pretty much in your power. The third one isn’t … unless you’ve got the money. But I’m about to show you how to get a mentor without spending a dime. [Read more…]

Work: A 13-Part Guide to Earning a Living for Dreamers, Loafers and People Who Just Plain-Old Don’t Fit In

Sleeping on your mother’s couch is not what it’s cracked up to be. Especially if you are a middle-aged man. This is why getting a job is a great idea. With a job you can buy your own couch, have it delivered to your own house and sleep on it on your own time (just make sure you wake up early enough to get to work).

Having your own couch in your own house has other perks, too. [Read more…]

Freelance Writer Fees: Is There a Standard?

Making a living as a freelance writer has its perks. Work to your natural rhythms. Travel. Grow from competition. Meet some great people.

It’s why so many of  us are drawn to it.

It also has its lows, mainly the stress of putting enough projects together to earn enough money to make a living.

All of this, however, comes down to this question: how much should I charge? The answer is two-fold. [Read more…]

A Fine Story on Avoiding the Slow Death of Your Career

old man dancing

The seventeenth post in The Education of a Writer (TEW) series. 

The first time I met Peter Hut was in a swank, open-air lounge where the concrete floor shone from a glossy finish. Peter draped himself over one of the three black faux leather couches and complained about how cold the place was.

I took the couch across from him.

Everything about Peter looked smart. The long-toed, alligator-skinned shoes. The pressed long-sleeve shirt with mini checks. And the short, but neat white hair. The turtle-shell rimmed glasses punctuated that intellectual flair.

But I knew Peter on a superficial level. So I really didn’t know if he was smart.

He was an older guy in a different department and we never had much opportunity to run into each other. I’m an unapologetic introvert, so I don’t look for ways to run into people.  I’m sure Peter felt the same way.

He was a quiet guy and I didn’t expect much of him. But that was all about to change. [Read more…]