Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:00

The Pain of a Bad Review

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If we are an artists, and we've allowed others to read or hear or see our work, then we've probably had to deal with the pain of bad review.

The story goes a little something like this ...

We love our craft: our writing, our music, our poetry, our art, and our flow. We conceive it, we birth it, we bring it into the universe. And then we begin to share it with others. Along the way, we've probably gotten a lot of encouragement. Many of our friends have even enjoyed what they've seen and heard, and we are proud of our accomplishment. But then a "professional" steps in and calls our baby ugly.

It hurts, and sometimes it's downright depressing.

So how do we respond? What can we do? A lot.

1.We can reflect on why we were motivated to create. Did we do it for fame and glory or did we do it because we love the art? If we did it because we loved the art, then our love for it should diminish. If we did it for fame and glory, then maybe we need to make adjustments or get used to "mixed reviews."
2.We can examine the review closely and see if there's some truth to it. Do we have some growth as an artist? Is there something I could have done better? What can I learn from what the reviewer has said.
3.We can exercise some humility. Truth is, regardless of the quality of our output, not everyone will like our work. A review is an opinion, and we all know what they say about opinions: they are like noses (and various other body parts). On a side note, I was recently perusing Rotten Tomatoes and reading bios of some of my favorite actors. Most of my favorite actors have more rotten movies than fresh. As a matter of fact, according to RT, in order for a movie to be "fresh" or well-reviewed, only 60% of the reviewers have to like.
4.Don't forget that many artists aren't "critically" acclaimed but they are huge commercial successes.
5.Shake the haters off! Anybody can be a critic – it requires an opinion and the ability to string words together will some degree of proper syntax. And many reviewers enjoy giving negative critiques over positive one.
6.Finally, be wise! If several reviews point out the same weak point, listen! You're being told something. But if the reviews are a little of this and a little of that, maybe it's just a case of "different strokes for different folks." Hey! I don't think Kevin Hart is hysterical. But my girlfriend almost wets herself every time he walks on the stage.

Sharing your work is like sharing your heart. Getting a bad review is like sharing your heart and then having someone rip it apart! Just like love is a risk, sharing what's art is also. Whatever you do, though, whatever happens, whatever is said or reviewed, don't let it discourage you from pursuing those dreams.

Art is like fine wine; it gets better with age. If we refine our art, sift through the feedback and apply what's necessary, then our art will also get better with each stroke of the pen, the music, and the beat.

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