As artists and bloggers, we put little pieces of our heart and soul out into the world and open ourselves up to criticism. When I first started this journey, I was obsessed with that. If I got a nice comment, I was happy all day. If no one commented, I thought no one liked my work and was depressed. Gradually, Ive begun to let go of my need for approval. I’ve come to believe that the value of art is not dictated by public opinion. I still love hearing your comments, but I no longer let them control my mood.
I had to learn this all over again after I published my book. When I got my first harsh book review, I was crushed and spent days trying to get people to tell me that reviewer was wrong. After that I began looking for the grains of truth in each criticism so I could learn and improve. I thought I had this need for approval under control.
And then, BAM, another attack on the book. When I read,”It looks like it was put together by a grade-schooler,” I was crushed again. Where’s the grain of truth in that? Birdie wisely asked me if I liked it and if I thought I did a good job. “That,” she said, “is the only important thing.” She’s right. I find it astonishing that any 14-year-old has the self-confidence to understand that her work is valuable even if no one else thinks it is. What a gift.
I, on the other hand, still let it bug me. Are my instructions truly poorly written? Are my examples truly very rough and badly done? I don’t think so and many other people have told me they found the book very helpful, so why am I still thinking about it? After much soul-searching, reading, and writing, I’ve come to this conclusion: it is because I am human!
I am not the only one facing this challenge. If you are also being criticized and could use some support, I found the following articles helpful:
Dealing with Criticism
How to Deal With Criticism – 9 Useful Tips For Dealing With Criticism
Perhaps my favorite bit of advice comes from Aristotle. He says:
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
So, I will continue to share my art and stories with you. Maybe I’ll even write another book.
Here is today’s art. I thought I would “cheat” a little on the Diva challenge and start with this:
I figured I could add whatever was required and finish quickly. Hah! She fooled me. The challenge this week is ebony and ivory. That required some serious thought.
Not wanting to resort to black paint, I grabbed my Graphic 1 pen and I thought I’d try to do some “negative Zentangle.” I don’t mean that I was going to think bad thought while tangling (not possible), but rather that I would try and color the background with black and leave white the part I would have normally drawn with my .01 or .005. I can tell you that it was certainly a challenge. It took about 5 hours to do the ebony as compared to 1.5 for the ivory. Not exactly the quick finish I had in mind.
But, I am really glad I did it. Not only do I really love the result, but it took my mind off the criticism.
Dealing with criticism is something that gets easier the more you do it, so I invite you to please criticize this post. I shall attempt to learn from it and not take any personal offense. Thanks!