Friday, April 3, 2015

Lovers, Haters, and Creators

Creating is natural. Beautiful. Fulfilling.
Sharing is liberating. Gratifying. Gut-wrenching.
Yeah, I said it: Gut-wrenching. Because not everybody loves every creation.
We aren’t all attracted to the same people, and that’s a good thing. I’m thankful I don’t have to pry other women off my man every time we go to Target. That would be awkward and all sorts of time consuming. He’s a good-looking man, mind you, but most women notice the gold band around his finger and realize there are other options.
I follow many writer feeds, and over and over I read this advice: “Don’t read your reviews…EVER…unless someone reads them first and filters them and only hands over the ones that say you’re brilliant.” It’s as if the path to Goodreads is Disney’s Splash Mountain ride. A boatload of writers bopping along to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah getting the tummy squirms as danger signs and buzzards appear.
So why does it bother us if what we create isn’t for everyone? We don’t all like the same foods, music, or people.
But when you create something, it’s different. It comes from you. You love it, nurture it, and groom it. When it seems less fragile, you allow a select few to hold it. And when you are confident your creation can walk, run, or even fly on its own, you let go.
Or pretend to.
But it’s still your baby.
And when someone calls your baby ugly, it would be easy to go mama bear on them.
But we mustn’t.
I am North Carolina born and raised and grew up under the rule of “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” so I’m guessing I should probably avoid reading my own reviews when that glorious day comes…or maybe I’ll peek through half-closed fingers like a kid watching a horror movie.
There’s an awesome episode of Victorious called The Bird Scene. It should be required that all actors, artists, and writers watch it before throwing themselves or their work out for public eyes. Seriously. Wisdom from TeenNick to creators everywhere.
What do you recommend? How do you handle someone not loving your creative baby? Comment and let us know.


  1. Love the title to your post. Sometimes, I receive a critique that really stings. Usually, I read it and then let it rest awhile before I reread it. I ask myself, "Is this true and if so, how can I improve my work?" I pull from that deep-down courage we all have and revise with the comments in mind. The outcome is an improved work-in-progress. I am grateful for the process, even though it is hard.

  2. That's great advice, Linda! Rest gives perspective and enough distance to be objective. I have learned so much through my critique partners over the years, and they have definitely strengthened my writing. I also love your questions. Sometimes critiques are spot-on. Other times, the critiquer just doesn't connect with your words or intent. That's when we take the best advice and leave the rest. :)

  3. I liked LInda's response and I think when my turn comes, I'll probably peak through my fingers as if I'm on a scary ride. My friend LInda Phillips is already preparing me mentally for this--and I don't even have an agent, let alone a finished ms. yet! Thanks for the well-written post.