Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting Advice

Yesterday, before my husband left for work, and we were planning out the next few days, he looked out into the backyard and asked, "So, you gonna finish that weeding today?"

Now, I am anything but lazy (ask anyone but my mother, who wouldn't know)... and I was planning to work on the garden. But I also had a pit of a house to contend with, since we have company coming over today, a pit of a house that HE had contributed to, by the way... 

So I told him that yes, I was planning on it, but I had a bunch of other stuff, too, so I didn't know... and I also told him when I thought of stuff he could do at work while he was there, I'd call him and give him the list, too. You see, for the most part, the house is one of my jobs. It's my work. And I take it pretty seriously. However, it is only one of my jobs, and I don't appreciate his input on any of them, since he can't even seem to get his shoes into his closet (or his laundry in the hamper, or his dishes in the sink, etc.)... 

Thankfully, he kept his mouth shut, and when he got home and saw all the work I'd done (with a sick little boy home all day, no less), he did nothing but praise me. Good boy. That's what I needed in the morning, instead of a "honey-do" list... 

And this little event leads me back to my writing, as it always does. I tend to keep my stuff pretty much secret when I'm developing it. NO ONE reads a first draft of my writing... not even my husband. And when I send something out to readers, I make sure I do it only when I'm certain I'm ready for criticism. I find I am infinitely more ready to accept criticism when I actually ask for it. If you read my last post, you'll know I'm pretty good at taking it, too, but only if I specifically prepared myself for it, not when it's unwelcome.

How do you respond to criticism? How do you ask for it? How do you react when it's offered without your asking for it? I'd love to know. 


  1. constructive criticism, I welcome - but anything that seems patronizing gets my hackles up faster than you can blink.

  2. In general, I think I'm good at taking criticism. I understand the difference between an attack on what I write and an attack on me, logically, though occasionally it's still painful.

    Every once in a while, something will hit me harder than I ever saw coming or will be viewed in a way I never imagined and I'll be devastated. It is very much the exception however, and, usually, a little time will give me perspective.

  3. I and my youngest brother are the same: if you've got a criticism, you brace yourself and prepare to weather an initial hurricane. Only after the weather has calmed can you then have a rational discussion.

    We're both better than we used to be, but it seems we can't entirely avoid that initial red curtain that descends over our rational brains and blocks them out for a few minutes. At least we don't explode like we used to. Most of the time. That's progress. :-)

    When it's a critique of my writing, my first response is 1) "I'm so lousy I'll never write again!" and then 2) "Hm. Some of that actually made sense. I should try that."

  4. I've had some pretty whacked criticisms... one actor told me my drama DESDEMONA should be made into a farce or it wouldn't be taken seriously (and who EVER took a farce seriously?)...

    But most of the criticism I've received comes, not from creeps who just want to feel superior, but from people who genuinely want me to succeed, and only offer criticism because a) I asked for it, and b) they want my stuff to be as fabulous as possible.

  5. He sounds just like my wife. Good boy with the praise or he was probably likely to have weeds for supper.