From my point of view, a thoughtful bad review is a blessing. It's the gift of a different perspective from a person who won't tell you that your creation is amazing, wonderful, beautiful...
Those superlatives are nice to hear, but where do they get you in your journey as an artist?
Erich Kastner, the author of Lottie and Lisa (later that book became famous under the name of The Parent Trap) wrote, "Develop a good, thick skin!"*
|If only she could have stayed this age forever!|
Those authors and artists should listen to Kastner's advice. And he was a good authority; he lived in Dresden during WWI and Berlin during WWII.
It's very hard to do. After all, a book or a painting is a piece of someone, a part of their soul that they sawed off over a period of time and offered up for sacrifice.
I have found that my own thick skin is like Mithril armor. It helps me negotiate the lances and spears of bad reviews. And when I don't allow something to hurt me, it really helps me fly outside of my skin and see my books from inside another head. Now THAT is an amazing trip.
Some of my best writing advice has come from reviewers who took the time to say what they didn't like. Let's face it; it's easy to say, "Oh, this book was wonderful!" To write instead, "I didn't enjoy the story, and here is exactly why...." is a much more involved, difficult thing.
The battle against a bad review is the act of hacking off a Hydra's head; the monster grows two in its place. If we, as authors, can see that a thoughtfully written, bad review is a thing of wonder and a true gift, then we can tame the monster and let it live in the shed outside.
|Who's a nice monster then?|
My Hydra likes to eat present participles, -Ly adverbs, and the word "then."
*This advice came from his book, The Flying Classroom. If you never read it, you absolutely must. And have Kleenex at hand.