Criticism is an unavoidable part of life as a writer. Even if nearly everyone likes your work, there will still be someone who doesn't.
There is a difference between critique and criticism, but it's narrow. I see a critique as something you offer yourself up for; criticism is unsolicited. Also, critiques tend to be nicer and more constructive.
For the purposes of this post, I'll lump them both under "crit."
Right now, I have a piece in a contest, and all the writers who have also entered the contest have to critique other entries.
The comments on my piece have been mostly positive, but there is one commenter that I feel just doesn't get it. And this, right here, is the most frustrating part of being a writer-- no matter how careful or explicit you are, you can't control "it." IT is intangible, and impossible to grasp. You either get IT, or, you don't.
Likewise, I can't control the other writers and whether they get my writing or not based on the sample offered. And it's hard to not be able to argue back. Even when we have IRL (in real life) critique groups, it's hard for me not to defend myself, because I do put incessant amounts of thought into every word that goes on my pages, and wrestle with every decision to do something out of the ordinary, or in style.
Now, I probably sound like a spoiled brat, so I'll back up and say that I don't usually have this reaction to every crit I receive. Even if something is hard to swallow, I'm pretty good about taking the crits that resonate with me. If it really will make my writing better, why would I want to ignore that?
What I have a hard time with is people who "don't get it." And I don't fault them for not getting my work, because not everyone will. It's so hard to not respond, though, and correct misconceptions. Yes, I intentionally capitalized that letter. No, "fiction novel" is okay if it's part of the genre (at least last I heard).
But I won't respond, at least not there, because a.) as per my post at the Archives on Monday, I will remain professional online, and b.) it's not a habit I want to get into. If I'm serious about being published, I have to understand that there is going to be criticism of my work. And I can't track down every person who doesn't get it and correct them, can I? Likewise, I don't want to be *that* person. *That* author who has a public meltdown over a bad review and ruins their rep forever. If I'm going to have to take it from a lot more people someday, I may as well learn in the small scale now.
What's hard about criticism for you?