Confidence is a fragile thing. Especially when you take huge chance on yourself and put your work out there to be judged. My husband says something that I’ve caught myself saying/thinking often when receiving a complement or criticism. “Look at the source.”
This is a very good measuring stick to apply value to what is being said. I often ask for honest opinions on something and I sincerely hope to get them. Good or bad I value it all. Now haters need not apply, they can stick their self loathing teardown tactics where the sun doesn’t shine. When I say bad, I mean legit criticism or constructive criticism.
“Wow I loved the character development, except for Joe, he fell flat and faded into the background unlike Sasha who steps up to the challenge.”
First I look at the source, who is telling me this? Do I trust them? Is the comment inline with them as a person? Are they being petty or honest? Then I’ll look at the issue and determine if I did or did not let Joe fizzle out. This is useful either I’m neglecting Joe or my source is out to lunch. Chances are they saw or noticed something I’m too close to see myself.
Someone else’s opinion or advice is not gospel, it’s a suggestion I use to broaden my perspective.
Sometimes if I get a conflicting comment that stands out from the rest I pause, assess and move on respectively. I have been getting some fantastic reviews, and some interesting criticisms on my book. I will be honest I was expecting the professional critic to tear my work apart, when he didn’t I wondered if he was buttering me up. Then I put it in perspective. I compared this source with all the others and except for a couple they all lined up. Clean writing, good flow, functioning dialog, suspenseful and engaging. That was a boost and a half to my confidence. I wrote this book having never written anything more than a short story in high school (many moons ago) and technical reports in college (still a few moons ago). So to hear that all my hard work is good, was wonderful.
My advice about put-downs professional or otherwise.
Aside from critiques this can apply to anyone anytime for anything. When someone criticises you or your work unjustly, look at the source. Are they having a bad day? Are they just a down-to-the-bones jerk? Jealous? A quick way to shut them down is to smile politely and ask them, “What makes you say so exactly?” or “That’s an interesting observation, can you explain why you think so?” Having to justify unjust criticism is hard to do.
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