I welcome constructive criticism (it's the only way to reflect and grow - if of course you value the critique and critic) but sometimes criticism can be anything but constructive, and when you're consistently creating and bravely putting your art out into the world, less than favourable feedback can feel crushing at times, often stopping you in your tracks.
Here's the thing though, not everyone will appreciate your work, view of the world, or the last YouTube video you made. Start coming to terms with that asap.
Art is subjective. YOU, if you are the vehicle for your art (bloggers, vloggers, presenters) ARE subjective. Not everyone likes you in real life so why would they online?
Furthermore, does it REALLY matter?
I don't value myself on how many followers I have on social media, or how many likes a post I share receives.
I want to make a difference.
I want to touch and hopefully transform the way others think and feel, for the better. I want mothers to feel less alone because I've been there and it SUCKS. I want to empower others, and share all that I know.
I try and do so every single day.
Importantly, and I've written this before but I'll do it again in case you're a first-timer here, I would still write this blog if no one read it, because I can't NOT write it.
My creativity cannot be stopped.
I was drawing from the age of two and writing stories from four. I'm a storyteller, artist and filmmaker who lives to create because I can't live (not a fulfilled way anyway) if I'm not creating and making.
Whilst praise is wonderfully uplifting, what matters is how you think of yourself.
How the work makes you feel.
The pleasure it gives you, the joy of losing yourself in your craft, in constantly improving as you go, the experience, wisdom and lessons learnt from mistakes with every new post and video and the strength you receive from discovering new tools, technology and ways to connect.
Which leads me to my first point as I share my tips in combating criticism:
The joy of it
I think when you remind yourself of the joy you feel when you take action and create, the way you lose yourself in your words or film edit, you weigh up the pleasure vs pain ratio. The pleasure overrides all: the good, and the bad commentary you might receive.
When you enjoy what you do, that passion is contagious, you can see/feel it on screen when you watch a movie and of course in person when you meet someone who lives and breathes their art. It's like a magical force.
People are drawn to those who are passionate about what they do.
I literally jump out of bed each day, excited to write my blog and book, and to film. I will not let fear or the fear of others not liking my work stop me from creating and reaching those who hopefully will respond and connect to it.
2. Keeping Your Inner Circle Tight
Ask yourself if you value the person offering their opinion of you. If you trust them, consider their words and whether you agree and want to take action to improve, or not.
If the comments are unkind and pointless, ignore, delete and move on.
Stop valuing those who hurt, over those who don't.
A million people could write something positive yet the default is to focus on the bad, to remember the negative.
Break free from this negative cycle by reminding yourself of your good points, of your own truth (ask friends to describe your attributes if you're struggling).
Keep a list of testimonials and positive comments from others who you've helped to remind yourself of how awesome you are on the days you feel down.
Remember too, that for the most part, a like-minded audience will find you thanks to organic SEO which helps bring all the boys (and girls) to your yard based on questions entered into search engines.
Those who relate to your work, will keep coming back, and those who don't, won't (you must pity the trolls and not feed them as they thrive on a reaction).
Those there to pull you down are not your core audience. The ones you hope will read and consume your work.
Some people will offer their unsolicited advice to you, many with good intentions, some with not so good.
The important thing is to question what YOU and those you trust who have your best interests at heart, think. My husband, manager, literary agent, book editor, folks and closest friends make up my inner circle and I trust their opinions implicitly. It's not about 'yes men and women' around you, far from it, it's about allowing those who want you to thrive, to do just that.
3. Allowing Yourself To Feel Upset, Then Moving On
Don't squash feelings of sadness at comments/reactions to your work/yourself. Process them, discuss them with those you trust, try not to be reactive, cry if you need to, and importantly move on. Distraction can be a great help and rooting yourself around those you love.
Of course, constructive criticism is vital and nourishing. If you agree on the comments made or can see the person's point of view, take note, and action and prosper. Meaningless bile though must be put on the 'crap pile' and disregarded.
4. Don't Stop Creating
The first thing when you read something that makes you want to stop and never write again, is to do the exact opposite.
Do not stop creating based on someone else's subjective opinion of you/your work. You will not please all, it's impossible.
Art divides opinion and whilst, as a personal brand, it can be hard not to take criticism personally, channel negative energy into your work for positive results. Create.
And don't stop creating.
Art heals, in so many ways.
5. Make your Mission Bigger than your Ego
When you have a mission that's bigger than your ego, you serve your end-user and yourself because nothing feels more rewarding than giving others joy. My purpose is to help others grow in confidence and become digital business owners. That mission and my readers keep me on track. Knowing I am doing good in this (digital) world and making an impact, however small, each day, helps me overcome any negativity on my journey.
Follow Vicki at Honest Mum