Why attitude is all important

It is often said, when you fall off a bike you should get straight back on again.

Get back on the bike*
Obviously, in reality, if you fall off your bike that’s the last thing you want to do. Your instant reaction is to retreat into a corner to lick your wounds in peace while you wait for the embarrassed red flush to fade. 

To be able to get back on the bike you need to dust yourself down, work out what went wrong, maybe practise a bit, and make sure you do it better next time.

Easy to say. But hiding is not going to help you do that!

Dealing with disappointing marks

As an adult, going back into studying is hard. You have to remember you’re opening yourself up to a level of criticism that you probably don’t experience in your professional working life. Yes, you dealt with your work being marked when you were a kid at school, but it’s quite different when you’re used to doshing out the instructions and telling people how to do things!

It feels like this copywriting course is less about the actual marks received and more about feeling like you’ve really got to the bottom of the subject. And that’s how it should be. It’s no longer about just getting a good enough grade to get to the next stage. It’s about gaining enough confidence to be able to go out and sell yourself to a client, and then to deliver on your promises!  

So I think that’s why it felt like I’d fallen off my bike when I received the feedback from my last assignment. I mean, it wasn't terrible per se, it was just a particular element of the task that let me down - I basically missed the point of it.  The part that upset me the most was the fact that  I was pretty pleased with what I'd written!

What's that they say about pride and falls? Ahem.

My initial reaction was a mixture of annoyance, frustration, and upset. And yes, I'll admit, for a moment I wanted to chuck it in the bin and give up, citing it as proof that I would never be able to make it as a copywriter...

Instead, I chose wine. And the final episode of Breaking Bad!

While this didn't bring me any closer to my copywriting goals, it did give me a little more perspective on things.

Receiving criticism is one of the hardest things to do, but I know if I want to become a copywriter and write for clients, it is incredibly important to learn how to accept it with good grace. After all, you have to deliver what the client wants. It doesn't matter whether it's Pulitzer prize-winning writing (and I'm not in any way trying to suggest that mine was!), if the client sticks their bottom lip out and says, "Don't like it," it's back to the drawing board.

You gotta be able to get straight back on the bike and try again…As many times as it takes!

A lesson in attitude

I decided to use this as a lesson in attitude.

I sat down (ever so maturely), re-read the assignment, read the feedback (nodding maturely at all the salient points), and re-wrote it. I then sent it to my tutor (very maturely) and, slightly cheekily, asked her to cast another eye over it to check whether I was now on the right track.

And, do you know what? I immediately felt so much better...I had taken positive steps to make it better…

Until I got my response which was, essentially, “Better, but still needs work!”


Deep breath.

One more try I thought. So I sat down (ever so maturely)…Etc...Etc…Sent it off...

And got the message back, “You’ve cracked it…”

Phew. Nemesis defeated. Right, on with the next assignment.

Oh well, at least Hubbie was able to offer some ‘sympathetic’ advice in the face of my abject failure:

"I think it validates the course - it's proof that your tutor knows what she's talking about and means you're getting value for money.  There's no point in just getting good marks all the way through, you won't learn anything. Now can we watch Breaking Bad?"

*Counts to 10 and downs large glass of wine*

“Yes, dear.”

*Whisper it*

He’s blimin' right, you know. I learned FAR more from this assignment by going through the process of revising and improving the assignment, working on the bits that weren't quite right. And I feel like what I learned will stick. It’s difficult to stomach, but criticism (as long as it’s constructive!) really should be seen as a learning opportunity.

For the first time in my life I get that. And do you know what? I'm actually quite impressed with myself - this is so NOT the behaviour  I have ever managed before in the face of criticism - maybe there's a new, mature, me emerging!

*Whisper it*

Maybe this new mature me could become a copywriter after all!


If you have any tips for dealing with criticism, I would love to hear them below.

Follow my #copywritingjourney on Twitter @weenixlen

*Photo Credit: Unknown. Found here.

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