Everyone Has An Opinion
But not everyone is a critic.
I recently attended Jazz Fest in New Orleans and got to spend an evening with one of my very best friends. We talked about our days in college, how our families were doing now and of course where we were going ourselves.
I had to sigh when it was my turn…I hadn’t been writing the way that I once did. When my friend asked why. I had to tell him about my fears.
Bad reviews. I became obsessed with them. I read them over and over again until I believed everything in them.
I didn’t know what it took to write a short story.
I didn’t describe characters to the point that reader’s could see them.
There was no merit to anything that I’d ever published.
So? I have a lot to overcome to reach my goals for the year. And part of the reason that I’m pushing harder than I’ve ever done are the sage words from my friend.
He said that I had to remember that everyone has a right to his or her opinion but not everyone is a critic.
And I had to look that word up.
According to Merriam-Webster.com, a critic is “one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique”
My friend’s thought was that a reasoned opinion in regards to a novel meant that the critic measured a single work against an art form.
An art form. Not a favorite writer.
And he asked me if every bad review that I’d received was from someone who was upholding the aesthetics of the art form or from someone who was expressing an opinion?
I don’t know, I answered.
Then you have to keep writing until there are no more stories left for you to tell, he said.
And, readers, a Conundrum, is an excellent wine!