It isn’t always easy to be open to criticism, in fact it’s something I’ve learned to do over the years. When I first started showing my writing to other people, I felt vulnerable and exposed. Praise bolstered my confidence but criticism could really upset me and make me feel defeated, as if it wasn’t worth carrying on. Over the years, I’ve developed a thicker skin and learned whose judgement I trust and whose I don’t. I’ve become a better critic of my own work, too. In writing workshops, when you show your work to others, it’s helpful to keep an open mind, to listen to everyone’s comments but to keep hold of the sense of what you’re trying to say. No-one is surer of that than you. When giving feedback to others, I try to look for what’s working well before offering any criticism. I’m conscious of a critic’s responsibility. Criticism can undermine and damage a writer, whatever their age or experience. But when I’ve been really open to criticism and taken on board what someone’s said, even if it felt counter intuitive at first, I’ve been able to transform pieces of work into something completely different, something that I never imagined I’d write.