Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I was chatting via "comments" on my last post with Nadine, who is an author. Clearly I have issues with criticism. I also have equally huge issues with positive feedback. Go figure.

I completely agree with Nadine's statement about creating just for the joy of it. On the flip side, isn't art something that's best shared (generally speaking)?

Back when I was in college, I actually resorted to leaving some of my art projects at school - I conveniently managed to be absent - simply because I didn't want to see the grade/comments. Never picked them up. I must've done well enough on them because I got an A in the class.

Perhaps it's less an issue of whether or not I - an uber left-brainer - am capable of being creative and artistic (right-brain traits). Rather, perhaps I've spent so much time over the past 20 years nurturing my left side of the brain and neglected my artistic side. Let's face it, as a former secretary and manager, and as a mother of three, logic, reasoning and organization certainly comes it handy.

But even assuming that I do have a creative, artistic streak, how do I learn to embrace the subjective (art is, after all, highly subjective)? As a left brainer, I'm used to dealing with absolutes, black and white, right and wrong. The numbers either add up or they don't. The sentence is either grammatically correct or it isn't.

How does an author who has already received six rejection letters, muster the strength to send their manuscript to the seventh publisher on their list? I just hate, hate, hate putting myself out there. Even when I worked as a secretary, I hated performance evaluations. I knew I did a good - no, excellent - job, but sitting there across the table from my boss and listening to her say wonderful things about me? Ugh! I'd literally start feeling nauseous days before the review. Dreaded it worse than a trip to the dentist.

So what's the secret recipe to embracing feedback - all feedback? It certainly must include a healthy dose of self-esteem. Mix in an unwavering belief in one's own talent. Perhaps a pinch of "Aw, what does he know, anyway?" Hmmmm....what's missing? :-)


Nadine said...

Rejection is tough. I bet as you explore your "creative" side you will find that it's not nearly as bad as you imagine it to be. I bet it will bring joy to someone.

Elle*Bee said...

I hope you're right, nadine. I think part of my thing is that I grew up to be pretty self-sufficient (home alone a bit) so I'm unused to feedback of any kind. We'll see....

Sue said...

Sometimes I think we're our own harshest critics...and maybe the criticism you get won't be as bad as you think?

If you don't try, you'll never know.

Elle*Bee said...

Good point, sue.

Lala's world said...

I think it is hard to put yourself out there. It was hard for me to put resumes out when I had to look for a job cuz I was afraid of the rejection before it had even happened! think it goes back to past experiences and not trusting that our steps are being ordered by Him!! and I also think it does take some getting used too criticism, that is, and you get used to taking it for what it is and learning! so you go girl!