Earlier this afternoon, Zen and I were reading a book. At the moment it shall remain a nameless book, and I will later explain why. Now, this book is awful. It is terrible and horrible and boring and it’s more effective at putting me to sleep than heavy doses of melatonin. It’s redundant, pointless seems to exist for no other purpose than to make our lives miserable. The only reason we’re continuing to read this thing is because we have to finish the things we start. Zen and I must console each other before we start reading, telling each other that everything will be okay, that it will be over soon, realizing that even each other’s company isn’t enough to prevent either of us from sinking into despair.
And I’m never going to tell anyone what that book is. Not in public, anyway.
Oh, I wanted to rant about it. I wanted to kick and scream. I wanted to tell everyone just how bad this was. But then I realized that, as a writer myself, I’d absolutely hate to come across something like that myself. Respectful reviews, even if they’re bad, are fine if they provide constructive criticism and all that. But pure negativity can’t feel good at all.
Ever since I really started putting my work out there, I’ve noticed that I’ve restrained myself a lot more from being publicly negative about people’s work regardless of the medium. Even if you’re a best-selling author who’s making millions, I can’t imagine that harsh criticisms like that just roll off. You become better at not letting those negative people dissuade you from continuing your craft, but even at the height of confidence it’s still difficult, I would imagine. Heck, the only problems I have to deal with are not enough people even realizing my books exist. Nothing really negative, and I still have a hard enough time motivating myself.
Being an artist of any kind requires a lot of discipline, effort and bravery, and I think that should be respected. I know that some stuff just isn’t going to click with you, and that sometimes you may feel like you want to cry or ask the world why something like this was allowed to be created. But on the other side of whatever you’re dealing with is an artist who probably spent a huge amount of time doing something they love, forcing their way past their fear of negative reviews and backlash to release it into the public eye. And I feel that’s deserving of the respect that civility can bring. If I ever have something negative to say about something specific, I’ll always try to do it respectfully. I may still fail on occasion, but I try.
What do you think? Do you think that if something is out there it’s fair game for whatever comes its way, or do you try to tone down your criticisms?