Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

02 November 2010

Creative criticism

Creating something is hard. Creating is essentially using the power of the mind to turn nothing into something - a painting, a story, a computer program, a dance, a movie, a building – something, anything. All these beautiful things truly began as nothing more than a thought and ultimately became something through a process of hard work, mental or physical (or both), and often involving an emotional and spiritual investment of effort, too. Creativity is the force of beauty expressed through humans.

Tearing something down is easy. Burning a book, slashing a painting, hacking a program can all destroy those things but destructively criticizing a creation is the fundamental tearing down of a construct. It requires no creativity, no hard work, to let loose an inner two-year-old or rabid pit bull to simply wreak havoc on a creation. It amounts to being selfish and being angry simply because you cannot have things your way. Those critics are ultimately of no use.

However, constructive criticism is not wholesale destruction. Constructive criticism involves both understanding and creativity. Creative criticism is knowing what a creation is and then seeing a way to potentially make it better than it is. Because our creations are inherently imperfect because they come from humans, there’s always room for improvement. Critics who offer advice, critics who can see ways to tear down but then build back and can explain why the change makes a thing better, are an inherent force in pushing a creative endeavor to evolve. That’s why those who can offer constructive criticism are often also the most creative individuals. Those critics are essential.

I write. I paint. I program. I build. I turn ideas into tangible things. But the greatest thing I’ve ever created is me. I created the woman I am from the idea of who I should be. As a part of that process, I’ve learned to ignore the destructive critics who ridiculed my doing that, and I’ve learned to incorporate the advice of those constructive critics who pointed out the errors in my creation. Because I’m a work in progress, I’ll continue to listen to my critics when they have something meaningful to say. We should never be so rigid that our ears are frozen to hearing constructive criticism that might just make us – or the other things we create - better.

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