Embrace and Conquer
|Sweet and Soothing|
Many fellow bloggers and writers, me included, often battle with the dreaded inner critic. It can hinder our progress, bring us down and prevent us from sending our words out into the wider world. Even more frightening is the prospect of our work succumbing to criticism. But I would argue, criticism has its place and without it we wouldn’t strive to become better at our craft. Would you agree?
As I was cleaning my book shelf at the weekend I became distracted and started to read a few pages of the books, which had collected far too much dust. One book in particular, an old university philosophy book, grabbed my attention. Aristotle discussed criticism. He suggested, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.” What an interesting viewpoint.
What I try to do, and it is not easy, is to embrace critique by putting it into context. I liken it to the arduous task of resisting a slice of chocolate cake (with my name on it) when I’m supposed to be eating healthy. If my inner critic is taking over, I stop to think why, reason with it and then control it. If that doesn’t work, I tend to email a writing friend (my precious Butterfly) who will quickly put me right. If my work is being critiqued by a professional, I listen to the advice and act accordingly. Although, I must admit when I received my first few critiques I did need a few tissues before the reasoning set in.
In terms of public criticism, it is important to keep in mind that most of it is personal opinion. We all write in our own voice and need to accept our writing will not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. One piece of invaluable advice I was given a few years ago was to make sure I listen to and remember the positive viewpoints of those who enjoy reading my work and not allow negative comments to become the focal point.
I would be interested to hear how you cope with criticism. Do have a magic formula to share?