My cousin Noelle sent me a link to this essay, The Generosity of Criticism, by Daniel Coffeen. It was beautiful timing on her part, because it’s exactly what I needed to read right now.
Coffeen talks about the difference between judgement and criticism. Judgement is a quick decision. Criticism, on the other hand, is explored. A person who offers their criticism is taking the time and effort to really consider whatever it is they’re criticizing.
If everyone could dismiss the word’s negative connotation and learn to give and receive sincere criticism, and appreciate how generous a gesture it is, the world would be a way less defensive place.
Example: My book is currently being critiqued by three trusted readers. As you know if you’ve kept up with this blog, I had a big-time freak out about letting people read it. What if they don’t like it? What if they do? What if they make fun of it? What if they make fun of me? And so on, and so forth.
After a few days, a few glasses of wine and reading Coffeen’s essay, I realize I don’t have anything to worry about. These people are not going to judge me. I asked for their criticism, and the way that’s defined in this essay is exactly what I expect to receive. Even if they don’t like something, I know they just won’t go, “That part stinks,” and leave me hanging. They’ll tell me why they feel the way they do and suggest what might work better.
So, yeah… no more freaking out. (Well. No more big-time freak outs at least. A little one might still sneak in.) 🙂
Speaking of the book, I’ve been having a little fun on Pinterest with a new “There With You” board. I’m adding images and descriptions that I hope will give people a window into what I had pictured in my head while I was writing the story (without giving too much away, of course.) It’s just a little something fun to do while I wait for my readers to finish. If you’re on Pinterest, follow me to get updates. If you’re not on Pinterest,
what’s wrong with you? here’s a peek at the board cover image: