Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Criticism

How does a writer deal with criticism? I have often thought about this, as I am a writer who is extremely sensitive and who sometimes believes I shouldn't be a writer at all! Yesterday, when someone used the word "terrible" to describe the conclusion to an article I wrote, I was dumbfounded. I mean, that is not exactly "constructive," is it? But then, when you call yourself an artist, you literally put your creations out into the view of all people, to judge as they see fit. If they think it's crap, they're going to tell you, and you have to believe in yourself and your work enough to withstand it.

I guess there are two types of criticism:

* Constructive criticism - This comes in the form of, "I think you could have done this better" and "I wouldn't use this phrase; it's too wordy." Your critic is not only finding faults, but offering solutions. This is, ultimately, to help you improve. Sometimes it can hurt, but not nearly as much as the second type of criticism, which is:

* Unnecessary criticism, or as I like to call it, criticizing for the sake of criticizing - We've all heard the exasperated saying, "Everyone's a critic." Actual professional critics have often been criticized themselves, because artists resent them. They do not create, we say, only pick at what others have worked hard to create. This is both fair and unfair to a certain extent, depending on the critic.

When a person says that a painting, novel or film is "terrible" or "boring" or "dry," perhaps they are simply being honest. However, a person's blood, sweat and tears went into such works, and unless said critic offers something constructive, this type of criticism is hurtful, self-indulging and utterly useless to the artist.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

5 comments:

Andi said...

It's incredibly tough to take criticism. Now, I'm getting better at it. I very much appreciate the criticism of my close writing buddies (you know who you are), but it's been much tougher to accept criticism from those outside my circle. That's probably why I've held back my writing for such a very longgggg long time. I think it gets easier with time, too, and you learn to take things with a grain of salt.

I just received 5 PAGES of suggestions for my thesis from one of my committee members. I will take some of it into consideration and discount other things because of this or that circumstance.

Andi said...

And it's so odd that I just looked over and saw a site I write for (daily writing tips) on your sidebar. Truly, truly an odd feeling. lol

April Boland said...

Yes, I found the site through Estella Scribbles and saw they had a widget. Woot! :)

Ed Vis said...

April, just like you as an author of an international best seller about Hinduism AM I A HINDU? [http://www.amiahindu.com/ ] initially, I found very difficult to deal with criticism, especially when I find criticism is NOT constructive.

Today after several editions later, I am very used to people calling angel as well as devil. I know I am some where in between...So I do not give any importance to critics at all.

Ed Vis said...

April, just like you as an author of an international best seller about Hinduism AM I A HINDU? [http://www.amiahindu.com/ ] initially, I found very difficult to deal with critics, especially when I find criticism is NOT constructive.

Today after several editions later, I am very used to people calling me angel as well as devil.

I know I am some where in between...So I do not give any importance to critics at all.