Monday, January 30, 2012

When The People You Love Don't Love What You Write...

So there's been all this talk about reviews lately. If you haven't caught the drama, it's sort of over, you didn't miss much. My feelings about reviews carry over from being a theatre major and having a best friend in show business. My bestie doesn't read reviews because she is afraid they will impact her performance, make her second guess herself, change what she's doing as an actor for reasons that go against her instinct. Add to this the difficulty in trusting feedback from people you don't know and it becomes clear why she avoids reviews. Her policy makes good sense to me. Don't get me wrong. I think reviews are VERY important, but I also think you have to have the right mentality about them.

But what happens when the people you love and trust don't like your work? What happens when they don't get what you're trying to do?

When this happens to me, there's this VERY LOUD voice inside my head that says, "if you, who are supposed to be for me, don't like this, how will anyone?"

And the sad fact is the voice doesn't go away. After you have an agent. After you have an editor. After you've published a book. IT'S ALWAYS THERE. It's the voice of doubt and defeat. It's paralyzing. And I find it difficult to figure out what to do next.

But luckily, there is always an answer in some crappy teen movie. And today's answer comes from CENTER STAGE. You remember this gorgeously craptastic ballet movie, yes?

Well, there is this scene where Zoe Saldana is lamenting the unfairness of her crappy part in the final recital. And then her teacher basically tells her to stop being such a big cry baby and go back to the barre. She says the only way to get over defeat is to go back to where you started, go back to what you love, and practice. Then practice more.

For me, this is back to the computer. Back into my brain where stories live. And back to the basics of writing. Practice. Try again. Do better. Write better. Repeat.

17 comments:

Emily R. King said...

It's all in the journey! I agree that reading harmful reviews does no one any good. Focus on change and betterment and keep chugging ahead!

Lola Sharp said...

I actually kinda love that movie. I love the end when she's in the red pointe shoes and dude rolls onto the stage on a motorcycle. And they fight over her. But, then again, I have a weakness for every dance movie, no matter how bad. (and they're all relatively bad. Still, I love them)

Also, FYI, it's 'barre'....BUT, going back to the bar *pours drink* sounds like good advice too. ;)

I love your new bloggy look, C!

Snuggles,
Lola

Sarah Pearson said...

My other half won't ever like anything I write and I'm okay with that. My Mum and my daughters though, if they don't like it, I don't know what I'll do.

Brinda said...

It's very odd that you posted this today when I had a conversation with my husband this weekend that got to me. He usually refrains from ANY critiquing of my work. I asked him to give me an opinion of one page I had written to enter in a contest. He then proceeds to tell me some things he doesn't like in my writing that were not even present in the piece. I told him I wanted honesty, but it was hard to take.

Stephsco said...

I just watched Center Stage for the first time last year; it's definitely corny but I can see why there's an underground following of sorts, and why the same formulaic dance movie keeps getting made.

Great post.

Miranda Hardy said...

It will be hard not to look at the reviews, but I think it's wise advice. If my friends and family didn't approve of my work....I'm not sure. It's not yet happened. But, I usually write for myself, do I don't put a lot of merit in the opinions of others.

Jolene Perry said...

The most my husband will say is that he likes one more than another one. As far as reviewers . . .? I look at some of what they say, but usually I don't. It's not worth it.
When I disagree, it's easy to roll my eyes and move on. When they bring up a valid point, OR when they mention edits that I marked that didn't get done, it's a little harder.

This is what prompted a post I think I put up last week of needing to really, really love what you put into the world, everyone else be damned, because it's YOUR name on it, so all that matters is that you love what you put out there.

Yes. I know.
This is easier said than done.

Aubrie said...

Great post! I try to take reviews with a grain of salt. Last night I watched LOTR Return of the King (11 Oscars-remember?) again, and then went online and read some yahoo user reviews, and they were awful. Those people picked on what I thought was the best movie ever. So, it taught me that even if you do write something awesome, there will always be people that won't like it.

Elodie said...

Ok first I have to say: I watched Center Stage several times and I do own the DVD :D
And you are so right, going back to what we love is what matters. I wonder how I will deal with reviews once the time come (and I tell myself it will come :D). Maybe I should bookmark this post of yours and remind myself that Center Stage and you got it right :-)

Katy said...

Okay, I ADORE Center Stage! Not the point of this post, but yeah... dance movies are the BEST!

Of course we want everyone to love everything we write, but that's just not in the cards. You're right: It's all in the journey of practicing and growing and identifying what it is you love about writing. Easy to forget, but important to keep in mind.

Kelley said...

I definitely agree. You take all the criticism (which is hopefully constructive) and filter through it. Come out with things that will make you better and work on those.

And... I left an award for you over at my blog! Pop on over and get it :)

M.J. Fifield said...

Love the Center Stage reference. It's a very good point.

And I really do love that movie. It's one of my guilty pleasures. I watch it every time I stumble across it on cable.

Mandie Baxter said...

Great analogy! And I LOVE THAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Jessica Love said...

Center Stage has ALL of the answers.

Alexis Bass Writes said...

Brilliant. That movie has so many great teaching moments. :)

Sophia Chang said...

Yes, o h yes. This is why I haven't let my boyfriend read my work yet. Very early on he made me cry and doubt myself so that's that! :P Several of my CPs also don't show their work to their husbands. I've accepted that he's here to support me in keeping up the journey, not necessarily to understand my soul's voice. I wish he did, but it's just not the reality. He barely gets half my jokes. :D

And what are you talking about - Centerstage was the best movie EVER. Ethan Stiefel forever!!!!

erica and christy said...

Love ballet and loved the movie (i own it). Also, love the advice! christy