Thursday, June 5, 2014

Harper Lee on Criticism




Artistic fields can be tough. We create from the depths of our soul, yet if we are to be successful, we must put our work out there to be judged. This quote from Harper Lee is excellent advice. As artists, a thick skin can shield us from some of the cruel comments that will, inevitably, come our way. But we would also be wise to keep our self-worth separate from our creation. Just because someone dislikes your book, that doesn't mean that person also dislikes you. While our creation is so much a part of us---in many ways like a child---any criticism feels personal. But we must remember that the criticism is about the work, not about who we are as human beings. This is something I (Jill) have to remind myself weekly, sometimes daily.

Do you struggle with criticism? If so, remember to keep your self-worth separate from your creation. It's not always easy, but it can help.

12 comments:

  1. I am really enjoying these inspirational posts!

    Thank you for your great insight, Jill. (And I love To Kill a Mockingbird :-) )

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    1. You're welcome. I love that book too. It's so good!

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  2. Seconding Whitney :)

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    1. That is, on all counts except To Kill a Mockingbird, because I haven't read it yet...I want to, though!

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    2. You must! And it's not very long, either, I don't think.

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  3. This is great advice! Since most artists are also sensitive, especially to the work they've spent hours upon hours on, it can be very hard to receive criticism. But we have to keep creating for the sake of those who enjoy our art, not for the ones who don't.

    Thanks for this reminder, Jill!

    Tessa
    www.christiswrite.blogspot.com

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    1. You're welcome, Tessa. Thank you for the insight! :-)

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  4. This is a great point! When someone criticizes my work, my initial reaction is to get defensive, like they criticized me. But, like you said, they're not talking about me. Just what I wrote.
    Loving these inspirational posts!


    Alexa Skrywer
    alexaskrywer.blogspot.com

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  5. Totally off topic, but I saw on Goodreads that you're reading the Heist Society Series! I love, love, LOVE these books! If you do, too, you should try Ally Carter's other series, the Gallagher Academy books.

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    1. Yes, I am! They're wonderful. I have a fiction crush on Hale :)

      I read I'd Tell you I Love You, But I'd Have to Kill You years ago and liked it, but didn't love it enough to stick with the series. It was interesting to see how much her writing has matured since the first Gallagher girl book. I'm definitely going to try that series again.

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  6. It's definitely important as a writer to learn to take criticism. When people first started reading my books, I remember feeling upset when they would point out anything that was wrong or that they didn't like. I had to learn that (1) I want my books to be better and that happens through critiques and edits and (2), they aren't insulting me by saying those things, they are looking at and judging my book.

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