How to Make The Most of a Bad Review

How to Make The Most of a Bad ReviewWriters with a few hundred articles under their belt feel confident about their abilities and know their limitations.

It’s quite different for newer writers. Writing emails and blogs is not the same as article writing, and when a client gives a less than favorable review, new writers might feel discouraged.

Here's how to make the most of a bad review.

It’s Not You, It’s …

In many instances, a bad review is not your fault. Some people are hard to please. They post a title for a one star writer, but expect the expertise of a four star writer.

The guidelines might not have been very clear. Some clients specify a professional, friendly or humorous tone for their article or blog post, while others leave writers guessing how to approach the subject. 

Talk, Don’t Write

In creative writing, the rule “show don’t tell” applies, but articles have their own set of rules. When you find yourself stuck finding the right tone, imagine talking to a friend about the subject.

Most people don’t have any problem talking about something. They don’t think, they just launch into a conversation.

Apply the same rule when writing, don’t write – talk. Imagine a family member or friend is sitting next to you and tell him about a city, a work of art, or a kitchen appliance.

Take Your Time

Writers are known to specialize in procrastinating. Many frown upon this, but procrastinating is often a good thing.

Sitting in front of your computer, waiting for inspiration to strike, can be a waste of time. If all you do is stare or your keyboard or screen, get up and forget about writing.

Go do the dishes, feed the pets, or go for a walk. Chances are, when you’re no longer thinking about writing, the right words will just come to you.

You Can Do It

Many writers shy away from challenging subjects and prefer to stay in their comfort zone. Yet trying something new can be an educational and rewarding experience.

If it works out, great, if not, at least you tried. The key is to try again, and again. Few great works were achieved with a first attempt.

The key, as with everything, is perseverance.

Don’t let a bad review put you off from trying again and again. What wasn’t good for the goose might be good for the gander.

Conny Manero

Article by

Conny is the author of approximately 2,000 informative articles and 1,000 product descriptions. She aims to combine her experience and education to provide the best content possible. Conny's has a BA in literature and specializes in internet research.

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Debbie
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Debbie

Wise words Conny!

Robin
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Robin

Great article, Conny!

Dieter
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Dieter

Great advice.

Maria Buck
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Maria Buck

Great advice Conny! I received a less-than-perfect review on an assignment I thought I did a great job on. If I had let it bother me, I would not have been given the great feedback I have received since that one bad review. I just shook it off and moved on.

Abraham Short
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Abraham Short

I wholeheartedly agree with the overall message of this article but would like to add a thought or question, if I may. Shouldn’t Account Managers play some role in advising clients on what they should expect to pay for certain types of content? I know that I personally pass on some orders because they are not worth the effort it would take me to write them. At the same time I see writable orders sit for days sometimes and can only conclude that, like myself, other writers are saying to hard for to little. I am just wondering how other… Read more »

Jack Aarons
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Jack Aarons

I’m the same way with any free lance writing I do anywhere. A client gets what they pay for. I won’t accept a job that will take ten hours of work that won’t pay me for my time. I feel you have to be smart about what work you choose to do.

Natalya Ward
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Natalya Ward

No matter how good a writer is, they will get the occasional bad review. I felt devastated after my first negative review. I was lucky that the review actually stated what was wrong. I used it to improve. As you said, the key is to keep trying. Writers can’t please everyone, but the ones we do please is well worth the work we put into it.

Lewis Kipling
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Lewis Kipling

I applaud your wisdom in using whatever came back to you negatively as a way to proceed positively, Natalya. It makes me appreciate your character without even knowing you. I’m with you on this tactic; but, it’s certainly not easy. I’m always hopeful for a “Why?” behind any dissatisfaction, no matter how seemingly insignificant. The gift of it is greater understanding – and, that’s something I’ll take as much of as I can get!

Neroli Wright
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Neroli Wright

Great article. I really appreciate the “talk, don’t write” tip.

I use the voice memo feature on my iPhone to make a note if certain phrases or words come to me when I’m out and about. I don’t see it as procrastination, more creative-self-management 🙂

Amy Witt
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Amy Witt

Great article.

brenda
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brenda

Everyone gets a bad review once in awhile try to learn from it.

Randal Frederick
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Randal Frederick

Excellent post! I especially have to remind myself to keep a conversational tone. I tend to be wordy and craft brilliant prose (in my opinion) when what I should be writing is something much more basic. It’s also true that so many good writers give up before they even get started. Thanks for the great reminder!

Skye MacLeod
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Skye MacLeod

These are great tips, Conny. Knowing that bad reviews and rejections are standard operating procedures in the writing world really helps writers to stay grounded and focused on success. Remembering that we loved to write at one time also helps. Writing for fun and for non-profit purposes helps me to keep a skip in my writer’s step.

Ysabel Castillon
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Ysabel Castillon

I’ve only just signed up as I wanted to improve my own writing skills and hopefully start a new career. This was really informative and helpful, as I imagine I’ll be getting at least one bad review at some point, so thank you so much for putting this out there!

Isabelle Martin
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Isabelle Martin

Great article!

Joanna Morgan
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Joanna Morgan

Getting back on the horse is so important in our line of work. Yes, we do need to realize that not everyone is going to love what we produce, and we need to not take it personally! Too many writers give up too early due to negative feedback. Let it roll off your back we’ve all been there.

L.A. Tomas
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L.A. Tomas

Good advice. Rejection and criticism come with the job, and for new writers, it can be hard to take.

brenda
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brenda

Try and find out why you got the bad review and use it to help improve what you write write time.

Jack Aarons
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Jack Aarons

To be a writer you have to have thick skin.

Eve Lotts
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Eve Lotts

I like the tips you give here. I tend to take bad reviews personally even though I’m usually quite confident in my writing skills. It’s good to remember that you can’t please everyone all the time. Great article!

Robert Thomas
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Robert Thomas

Conny: Great article, thanks for bringing us back down to Earth. I had an International client who wanted me to write copy for not only his web site, but his products as well. The “pay” was VERY minimal, and he wouldn’t tell me about his company. I spent many hours online looking up his company and the items they produced (very small niche target audience, and not much online regarding the products!). Needles to say he gave a very negative review and refused to pay. I tried to argue my point with the site I was writing through, but they… Read more »

Edith Whitley
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Edith Whitley

I like these tips. Every writer gets a bad review now and then. The problem is when it’s not constructive and just says “this is bad” or “you write like a child”. It doesn’t say anything about why they are saying that or what to do about it. I know some critics don’t care about helping you approve. In those cases, it’s best to just move on to the next job.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Occasionally, you will find a client who you just can’t please no matter what you do. All you can do with a client like that is try to keep adapting to the feedback you get.

auntieemily
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auntieemily

What Brenda said. We need to figure out what we did wrong and then change.

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