I don't like yellow, part 2
We’ve all encountered a subjective opinion or two, both positive and negative. A purely personal opinion without its necessary counterpart, the objective side, is just an opinion with nothing to back it up. Social media is filled to the brim with these things, and many are only negative statements or attacks.
In my book on creativity, Fishing for elephants, I relayed a true story about giving a presentation on a well thought out public art piece that just so happened to incorporate primary colors in its design. Many constructive comments came from the panel I presented to, except one. One of the panelists simply said, “I don’t like yellow.” It was a response that had nothing constructive (objective) to add, just a contrary opinion.
Since the release of the book, I've had more than a few people message me about their "I don't like yellow" experiences. It's pretty common.
As creative people, when we put our efforts out for the public to see, it is inevitable that we will receive these kinds of comments. How we deal with them, process and respond to them, is situational.
One of the most important things to realize is an opinion in and of itself should have little or no impact on the recipient, the creative path or future choices. "I love it" or "I just don't like that at all" overheard in a gallery setting doesn't carry much weight in the grand scheme of things. One feels good, the other does not. If you, as the artist, the musician, the writer put anything out there for all to see, there will always be someone who has a bias against it. In other words, don't take it personally, it's their stuff. You can't please all the people all of the time, nor should you ever try. However, there are times when their stuff crosses over into your stuff, and a decision needs to be made about clapping back or letting it go.
Here is my IDLY, part 2 story.
As I said, when you put something out there, a book, for example, there will be both good and bad responses. Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, has already received nearly 850 reviews with a ratio of 85/15, favorable to unfavorable. In reading through the reviews, I found the responses to be incredibly well thought out and constructive on both sides.
As for reviews of my own book, I have a bundle of positive reviews and one very negative, and frankly, mean-spirited one. It isn't the unfavorable part of it that bothers me, everyone has a right to their own views, it's a jab that will affect future opinions about whether to purchase it or not. Here's the part that feels jabby, "... A jumble of disjointed thoughts just tossed together...a transcript of the author’s stream of consciousness. Particularly disappointing because of the high cost of this book. In fairness, there is inspiration to be found in this book, but I think a collection of memes may have been a more effective delivery mechanism."
That last part just feels like an insult, and I don't even know the guy. If he doesn't like the writing style, that's cool, but why so cold, yo? I couldn't remove it even if I wanted to, and I don't. I believe in this information, I've had so many people go out of their way to tell me it's made a difference for them. I believe in the message and how it's presented, and I want more people to know and use this creative process in whatever way fills their hearts.
So, what to do? Let it roll off? I could but, nope, I'll combat this negativity with positivity... with your help. If you've read the book, if you enjoyed it, if it helped you in any way, if you think it would help others, post a review on Amazon. Here's the link to add your review of the book:
I appreciate your support, your kind comments, and if you read this all the way through, I appreciate that too.
Most times it shouldn't matter, but sometimes it does. And sometimes you just gotta punch back.