Everyone’s a Critic…but that Doesn’t Mean You Should Listen

So I’ve taken a sidetrack from the manuscript to do some more work on the charity anthology (that is, in fact, still in the works). It made me think a bit about critiques and what they mean to a writer/artist (for the purposes of brevity, I’m going to be long-winded for a moment and say that for the rest of this post I’m going to just refer to all writers and artists as “artist”).

They say everyone’s a critic–and they’re right. No two people are going to agree 100% on the style of any piece of art, whatever the medium. But some criticisms are useful. So how do you tell which criticisms to take to heart and which ones to ignore?

In my opinion, the artist is the ultimate decision maker on their art, regardless of what others say. As an artist, you are the creator. You are God. But even a god can make mistakes, and therein lies the rub. You have to be open to acknowledging those mistakes and making changes based on the critiques you receive.

Take your time when giving and receiving critiques. As a critic, try to put yourself in the mindset of the artist. What are they trying to say? Is that sentence fragment on purpose? Is that swipe of the brush an accident or a happy little tree? As an artist, think long and hard about what the critic is saying. Do you really need to rephrase that fragment? Should you make that brush stroke into a happy little tree?

It’s all subjective, of course. Well, not grammar…that’s objective. Except when it’s subjective. Savvy?

Critiques are that simple, and they’re that complex.


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