Criticism. We all hate it. For those of you who say you ‘love’ it…. well, you’re lying or you’re a weirdo. By ‘love’ it, you probably mean that it helps you improve/grow/better yourself etc. But no one enjoys hearing that their creative work has issues or is just plain bad. This is where pride and fear enter in. Fear is the devil’s ultimate inspiration killer.
Usually, when we’re afraid of making a fool of ourselves, we’re preparing to do something meaningful and important. What will people think of me? What will I think of me? Then, we have to make a decision: to do this important and meaningful thing or not to do it. That is the question. Well, to choose ‘not to do it’ is the easy choice and a cop out, and it has a definitive outcome—nothing. If, per chance, you make the ‘do it’ decision, there are two possible outcomes—failure or success.
I struggled a lot with this fear with my writing in particular. I would write, but I wouldn’t let anyone read what I wrote. But I still wanted to be a writer… so, how am I supposed to become a writer if no one reads my work? Hmmm…
I have noticed a very important fact about my life. When I face my fears, usually something good happens. Example: I used to be terrified to sing by myself in front of people because of this traumatic high school audition experience… but if I hadn’t sung that solo from Phantom of the Opera in the talent show at Ave Maria University back in 2005, I may not have the friendship I have with Fr. Fessio or my job with Ignatius Press today. Facing fears=major life changing moments.
So, with a few events in between, here it is 2014 and I’m writing for the IP Novels blog, selling one of my short stories on Amazon Kindle, and continuing to write my novel that I hope all of you will read one day. Yes, I had to handle some criticism and lots of it, and I still do. I hate it. But I won’t let it stop me.
If God has given you a talent, you cannot and should not hide it under a bushel basket. Pride and Fear will sit on that bushel basket until you lift it up and let the whole world shine with that light. I simply want to encourage all budding writers or anyone with a God-given talent, whether you’re 12 or 92. If you are afraid of being criticized, let me tell you something: You will be criticized. There is no mystery there. The only thing remaining is whether you have the courage to learn from it and rise above it, or crawl back under your basket.