This resonates with me on a personal level. What I bring to the table supersedes the rest, for good or for ill.
It’s also useful in my life as a writer. It’s why there are so many opinions and reactions to various books, writing styles, themes, subjects etc. What is moving, meaningful, and amazing to one may seem trite, pedantic, or corny to another.
As a writer, it’s far easier to remember and be affected by criticism – by those who didn’t like one’s work – than by those who offered positive feedback, review, or praise. This quote helps me to keep it all in perspective.
ALL reactions to creative work are valid…but because of the intimate and subjective nature of any creative work, those reactions, positive or negative, often speak more about the person reading/viewing/hearing the work than the work itself.
When a review seems firmly based on the book – characters, plot, setting, background etc – it’s still true. Have you ever seen the reviews on amazon and the like where a reviewer who gave a blistering, one-star review is questioned by others who liked the work with something along the lines of, “Are we even talking about the same book – and did you even read this one?” It’s all in each individual reader’s perspective.
When the reviews are clearly personal – whether sweetly gushing or sarcastically slashing – having little to do about the work itself but seeming to be more emotional, the quote above is doubly true.
In the 13+ years since my first book was released, I’ve had reviews of all kinds, and it takes a while to develop the thicker skin required of anyone who hopes to have a long-term writing career…especially when it can seem as if those with negative reactions are the most vocal. But it’s a necessary skill to cultivate if you intend to put your work out there for public consumption.
Not everyone will like your baby. Some will even call it “ugly”. But others will adore it and treasure it. It’s all part of a writing career, and it’s a good idea to try to cultivate a healthy perspective about it. 🙂