Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Facing Negative Criticism ~ Is Thinking Like An Artist The Same As Thinking Like A Normal Human?


Our last post, about criticism and using the integrity of the book to defend against negativity, had me saying this:

“At each stage of this process [all the steps of getting feedback on my book] I was of two minds: the merely human writer seeking perspective and the Artist, bearing the Book and feeling its Life and Truth…”

A merely human writer is any writer when they consider things from a conscious, objective, society-oriented perspective.

The Artist is the same writer when they consider things from a deeper-than-conscious, subjective, not-necessarily-society-oriented perspective.

Language is slippery and seems to favor, in most instances, a conscious, objective approach that engages some aspect of developed social structure.

Just comparing my sentences up there about a merely human writer and an Artist, just looking at what I had to do to contrast the two frames of mind is one example of how Language can respond to simple comparisons.

I could have used a more metaphorical approach:

A merely human writer thinks like the Manager of a shop full of creative people.

An Artist is the same writer when they think like a shop full of creative people.

I could take this comparison further into the waters of metaphor:

The merely human writer: “I was riding the waves of criticism, responding with what I had in the boat–signalling flags and lights, carrier pigeons with responses secured to their ankles; and, finally, I had to abandon the boat, floating with the aid of a life-vest but without the aid of my compass and map, now sinking with the boat.”

The Artist: “The sea of criticism broke its waves against the shore of my understanding. I lashed myself to the rocks and bore it all for love of my Muse.”

Just a bit exaggerated, eh? Also, those examples are only me giving voice to my perception of the different ways I handle the thoughts of other people when they share their negative opinions of my writing…

How do you handle negative criticism, how do the merely human and Artist aspects of your nature think and communicate when the waves start to rise?
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10 responses to “Facing Negative Criticism ~ Is Thinking Like An Artist The Same As Thinking Like A Normal Human?

  1. cmmarcum April 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I have searched the internet over and found only one dark soul who will clash swords with me. He is a dark angel. We argue and disagree often. He is my best bud. I open his emails with trembling fingers, because I know that he has found something amiss. Alas, we do not write in the same genre.

    If you want to be a good writer, you will turn a deft ear to those who stroke your ego and seek out the people who can help you. A fat head and $2.50 will buy you a draft beer.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai April 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience and commentary on criticism, C. M.

      Like

      • cmmarcum April 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

        Oops, am I off the mark again? :(

        Like

        • Alexander M Zoltai April 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

          Heck no, C. M.

          I asked for people’s feedback :-)

          Like

  2. Simone Benedict April 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I’ve experienced what you’re talking about before, but I never could have expressed it as wonderfully as you did.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai April 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      Awww…. Simone, you make me *blush* :-)

      Like

  3. lynnbiederstadt December 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

    CMM scares me. In a good way. But that tender thing that our psyches are? The gift we offer from the deepest hearts of ourselves…I need mine treated delicately; with respect. If there are a number of right answers in any critical view, I am less than sympathetic to the one that considers itself the owner of right. Thanks for this. Thanks always.
    -Lynn

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 13, 2011 at 12:36 am

      Even though you’re a writer, Lynn, you seem quite sane — whoot :-)

      Like

    • cmmarcum December 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Fear not, my friends, and rest easy. I have learned to keep my critiques to myself, except for three close friends–some pretty tough cookies–that I communicate with via email. I only talk about writing in general terms on blogs.

      Like

  4. Pingback: How Writers Handle Criticism | Notes from An Alien

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