Blunting the Impact of Negative Feedback on Your Work

by JoAnne McFarland in Ways to Stay Motivated
It’s always painful when someone doesn’t like your work, or doesn’t respond in a positive way, or doesn’t respond at all. It happens all the time though. It took me many years to begin to differentiate between someone looking for a way in to what I do, and someone who just wants to stop me from enjoying myself.

Killjoys Abound

A lot of of criticism has a negative impetus. Someone might be jealous of what you do, or confused by it, or think how you do it is just not very competent, or not what they’re in to, and who are you anyway?

Looking For Teachers

On the other hand, some people know more than you do at a certain point in time, they’ve become more sophisticated in their methods, their outlook, and really want to give you feedback that will help you get to your next level.

Getting Ready to be Exposed

When I’m preparing for an exhibition or open studio event, or deciding whether a poetry collection is ready to be published, I ask myself one question, and sit with it for a while—is this the best I can do right now?
If the answer to that is yes, then I move forward. Measuring my work only against my own skills and how far I’ve come in developing them, provides a way to keep going regardless of external pressures. Since I’m most interested in the creative process itself, and the joy inherent in simply making, day to day, this has become my surest way into a sustainable studio practice.