Friday, June 4

Responding to criticism

If you do anything creative, from time to time you will be exposed (or you'll expose yourself!) to criticism. Sometimes that criticism can be upsetting or frustrating, or even downright mean.

I thought I'd share a process that I picked up from Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way. I've used it once or twice when I am particularly upset by a bad review or whatnot, and I find it incredibly helpful in letting go and moving on, so I thought I'd share.

Here it is, step by step:

1. Receive the criticism all the way through and get it over with.

2. Jot down notes to yourself on what concepts or phrases bother you:

3. Jot down notes on what concepts or phrases seem useful.

4. Do something very nurturing for yourself - read an old good review or recall a compliment.

5. Remember that even if you have made a truly rotten piece of art, it may be a necessary stepping-stone to your next work. Art matures spasmodically and requires ugly-duckling growth stages.

6. Look at the criticism again. Does it remind you of any criticsm from your past - particularly shaming child-hood criticism? Acknowledge to yourself that the current criticism is triggering grief over a long-standing wound.

7. Write a letter to the critic - not to be mailed, most probably. Defend your work and acnowledge what was helpful, if anything, in the criticism proferred.

8. Get back on the horse. Make an immediate commitment to do something creative.

9. Do it. Creativity is the only cure for criticism.

- Jesse Kates / The Sexy Accident - Download our music for FREE