Everyone's a Critic
It was amazing seeing all of the #girlpower yesterday for International Women's Day. There are so many talented, passionate, committed, funny, loving, wonderful women in our lives.
But I'm also reminded that sisterhood needs to be 365 days a year. Empowered women empower women. Daily.
But do you ever feel caught up in criticism instead of empowerment? I think we all must at times. I certainly do -- especially when I'm feeling uncertain about something in my own life.
It's also easier to be a critic than a creator, isn't it? There is no risk. You aren't putting yourself and your ideas out into the world. You don't have to make yourself vulnerable.
As an author, I received some extremely critical reviews. And I don't mean critique. I loved those reviewers who engaged with my book and wrestled with the ideas in it, even if they came away with a less-than-positive assessment of my work. There was intellectual honesty and rigor involved.
And yet the reviews I remember -- the ones that can still make me well up with tears – are the critical ones. They have made me doubt myself and my abilities as a writer. They cause me to doubt whether I even have a right to a voice or an opinion. It’s those reviewers who seem to hold no empathy for someone else’s act of creation.
And I know I’ve done it to others. Snark is funny, no?
But as I enter my 40s, I’m trying to live by the mantra of creation not criticism. Empathetic critique not barbed criticism.
This is one of the reasons I created Shady Ladies. To give emerging women writers a night filled with women who support the power of their voice – and their guts to tell a story – even if they don’t personally love the book.
I believe in the power of human connection and that in meeting someone, sharing a meal and hearing their story, we become more empathetic and understanding. I want more of that in this world that seems ever more polarized and filled with critics and division.
I want Shady Ladies authors to ignore the Good Reads haters, and instead keep the memory of a magical night in Detroit, when dozens of beautiful faces gathered together to share a meal and stories and support the act of creation. I want that to bolster them when they begin to doubt their own story, their own experience, their own right to a voice.