Constructive criticism anyway.
Your biggest critic should always be you, but sometimes we lack the experience and knowledge to be. That is why in starting my blog, I’ve actively been seeking the help of others to critique my work so I feel less like I’m drowning.
From my experience, we tend to be more detailed and helpful critics when looking at the work of others rather than our own. I know that in my case, criticism of my own work tends to end in a proclamation of “it’s bad” whereas if I was critiquing the work of someone else, I’d offer a specific thing for them to look at. Since the general image one conjures up when thinking about criticism is that of negative criticism, it’s easy to forget that criticism can be both good and bad.
It seems as though now more than ever we are seeking validation for everything we do, and we get confused and upset when we don’t find it on our first try. I’m speaking in broad terms of course, but in this media age everyone is looking for a pat on the head; a well done or good job and so feel cheated when their efforts go unnoticed or seemingly underappreciated.
That catchy title you thought you’d created. That paragraph you’d agonized over for nearly an hour. That post you made about an obscure topic you were so certain would be thought provoking for your readers and would strike up a fervent discussion in the comments. All of them apparently weren’t as great as you thought.
But I worked really hard on that.
I thought it was good.
These are the typical thoughts that run through my mind when I recieve negative criticism, and I’m sure I’m not alone. As I’m trying to find my feet with this blog, I’m learning that it’s ok that as of right now I can’t catch all my mistakes.
Of course I thought it was good. I knew no better.
Any yet my initial reaction, even if it is momentary, is to feel as though I’d been stabbed by my most beloved.
“Maybe you should try a different font”
Tiff mentally stumbles, wounded from the harsh remark. She had loved that font. They knew that. How could they betray her like this? How could they rip her heart out right in front of her by suggesting such a thing?
Dramatic but accurate.
Whilst it is my blog and so I can do whatever I want with it; that doesn’t mean that every choice I make as a novice blogger is the best for my blog. It’s important that going forward I accept my current limitations and take constructive criticism at its face value and use it as a learning tool to develop.
The problem is that unlike children, adults don’t typically have their hands held when they start a new venture. As such, we are often flying blind with no point of reference to further develop our own skills. Sure we can compare ourselves to the most successful, but that has it’s limitations. Mainly the fact that it can be daunting and discouraging to compare yourself to a position so vastly different from your own.
This is why we ask others to take a look at our posts and encourage them to give us ‘feedback’. These are all roundabout ways of us asking them to give us constructive criticism without directly saying “criticize my work” and so it seems safer. We want to improve and and we acknowledge that we need the help of others to know how. We don’t yet know what we are doing and that’s ok.
I’m learning that with the help of others lending me their critical eye, I’ll be able to better develop and exercise my own to improve my content and my constructive contributions to discussions.
I’m not being attacked. I’m being helped; and accepting help will only help me develop.