Hey y’all. I totally played ya- this is not a post about Avengers: Infinity War. At all. Even though I did go watch it and did get my emotions played with like everyone else. Wow, Marvel. Wow.
Chris Hemsworth, my husband, still keepin it tight. 👌🏾 Anyway this is a post about defensiveness.
Going further and deeper into my artistic career has been eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve learned a lot about the journey of being a creative. I’ve always considered myself a humble person. I don’t struggle to apologize: no matter how heated an argument is if I see that the other person is right, I’ll admit it. I enjoy peace, and I’m prepared to take the high road for it, most of the time. But, as with every creative, I have a weak spot for my art.
I like to write (as you may have guessed) and I’ve been developing several story ideas for a while now. My boyfriend, an aspiring writer-director, has been in the game longer than I have. He gives the best advice, and I know it comes from a good place. But man, it touches me on my studio.
The underlying issue
The underlying issue behind this defensiveness is: insecurity. I am extremely scared of telling people my ideas, not for fear of theft, but because I’m afraid they’ll confirm my fear that it isn’t good enough. When all of our energy is poured into an idea, we tend to spill in some of our self-worth, too. When as a result, our self-worth depends on whether that person/group approves of that idea, we’re obviously riddled with insecurity. The stakes are high AF.
Another issue is the loss of control or ownership one feels over their idea. I tend to think that unless every single detail of the story, picture, song [insert art form] was my idea, then I can’t say it was mine, I can’t claim to be the author, creator, etc. This is a narrow way of viewing constructive criticism.
What it really means
I’ve learned that generally, constructive criticism comes from people who either want you to succeed, or think the idea is good enough to go somewhere. I, personally, wouldn’t pour energy into giving advice to what I think is a lost cause or not going anywhere. My bf has explained this to me, and I am only starting to believe it NOW, AT THE RIPE AGE OF 23.
It happened to me during class, when I went in with a scene idea that took place in the middle of a more elaborate plot I had sketched out but hadn’t had the time to flesh out. The whole class was contributing to it, giving me great ideas that I still intend on implementing, and that have ultimately geared me towards finishing the idea. I learned that, when I swallowed my pride, those ideas they had didn’t come from a vacuum. They came from my idea, from my story. What I brought in inspired them, and with their help I created a great feature plot. And they only served to help me, not take anything away from me.
Not everyone’s gonna like your art. That’s why there are a bajillion artists on this planet- there is something for everyone. What we, as creatives, have to do is accept that whether or not someone likes our art has NADA to do with us. Art is so subjective. Some of y’all like my writing, some of y’all hate that I INSIST ON THIS ALL-CAPS THING IN THE MIDDLE OF SENTENCES. And I respect that. Maybe I’m just not for you. (Check out the other writers on FB, though. They cool).
The people in your life who love you or are invested in your dreams will give you criticism to help you. Sure, you’re not obliged to take those notes, some of them may be too out of line with your idea. But remember, besides the occasional hater, your friends and loved ones want you to succeed. Put your insecurities aside, drop your S.H.I.E.L.D.s and free-fall into your art.