Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. As writers…artists even, we are sensitive, volatile creatures waiting for the next criticism to break our spirit. Yet we’re called to a passion that is purely subjective. Where one bad review or criticism can leave us falling into the abyss of self-doubt, a hungry, relentless beast that swallows you whole. Especially after you’ve opened your veins and poured your blood and soul across the canvas, the stage, or pages of your work – in this day and age….your laptop.
For me, each day is different, each critique has its own way of working itself into me. When I’m working on a skill that’s new I’m more open to advice, knowing this piece will “suck” and help is much needed. I am eager to learn. But when excitement flows through my work and I’m so sure that the outcome will be well received and it’s not. That’s when the dark shadow of discouragement darkens my ambition and often I step away, unmotivated and look for solace in a new piece. I’m surrounded by a sea of unfinished work. Projects I thought were great pushed to the side because someone’s critique, suggestions, or subjective view made me change my mind.
I know I should take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt…it is only an opinion, after all. I am not the type of person to lash back and honestly, I don’t think it’s helpful when you’re trying to learn and grow. Needless to say, there are people that are not careful or helpful with their critiques or in fact, have no idea what they are talking about. But that little monster of self-doubt lives off meals of discouragement and it’s easy for him to grow without you noticing.
So am I the only one that feels this way? And if you do find yourself at the mercy of discouragement how do you overcome it?