Thursday, May 06, 2010

Criticisms and Opinions

By Nichole Giles

So here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about criticism, since it’s a pretty big part of writing, and really, a large part of life. Sometimes it’s constructive, sometimes it’s just criticism, but always it’s just someone else’s opinion.

Often, we can be our own harshest critics. You know, when it comes to our self image or our abilities, or our work. Because of this, I think it becomes more difficult to accept criticism from others, especially when it comes to our writing.

Words often have a way of cutting us more deeply than they were intended. At some point, we—human beings—dig out our magnifying glasses and draw a focus on those words—or sometimes lack of words. We make those critiques harsher than they should be. We focus on them until we can see nothing else besides those painful words that were probably not meant to hurt us in the first place.

Sometimes we obsess, cry, or forget about everything else important in life because of those enormous words that have stolen the focus of our thoughts.

But they’re just words.

Someone else’s opinion that is just that. An opinion, not a law or decree. We have the power within us to make a choice. Do you choose to let criticism paralyze you? Or will you take whatever value you can find in it and then move on?

Which person do you want to be?

I choose to rise above the hard things, take criticisms that have value, and leave the rest behind. What about you?


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

as hard as they are, there is usually (though not always!) some kernel of truth in a criticism that can improve our writing.We can choose to be offended/hurt and ignore it, or we can find the important stuff and use it.

Keith Fisher said...

Yep. I promise not to argue in Critique group. :)

The problem with writing is there really isn't any other way to get feedback. We have no real way of knowing how we are doing. When we put out heart into something, its hard to hear there might be something wrong.

Taking criticism is something I've been working on for my whole life. Writing is good for me because I'm learing.

Nichole Giles said...

Tamara, I agree. I actually am pretty brutal when I critique, and I expect my critiquers to be brutal as well--it's the best thing for me. But we do have to develop thick skin, right?

Keith, You're awesome. That's all I have to say about that.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I know when I critique my desire is to help and make the work better. I would hate to hurt someone.

If we keep that perspective then we can assume that others feel that way when they critique our work.

It can be hard to take, and sometimes we don't agree (sometimes rightfully) but if we step back and look at it later we can see it with new eyes without the emotions attached.