Lets talk about constructive criticism.
Constructive criticism is a respectful, actionable suggestion for improvement. Its purpose is to draw attention to something that could be done better, or to draw attention to a solvable problem. It is best to give constructive criticism when it is asked for. And possibly if it is offered, and only given when the offer is accepted.
Constructive criticism isn’t criticising for the sake of your own vanity or to be deliberately unhelpful. That is destructive criticism. The main difference is how the “crit” is delivered. Although both ways are meant to oppose or challenge you, being destructive is hurtful, unnecessary and makes you look like a petty asshole.
Coming from an art background, constructive critiques are the most valuable resource you can have. Your peers can guide you, shape you, help you rise or hold you back. In an industry that is subjective, it’s helpful to learn how to offer criticism in the right way.
Sometimes critique is easy, you have a definite thought and passion to help the recipient improve, that’s awesome. But it doesn’t always work that way. So how do you remain tactful and helpful when the work is horrible, or helpless? Is it best to pass and shut up? That depends. If you are tasked with critique that someone has asked for, I feel it’s the responsible thing to respond honestly. If you are appalled by the work, focus on what would make it better, not why you hate it. All of this seems very obvious doesn’t it? Like common sense? I wish it were, I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism, and I felt horrible about it, not only about my work, but about the person who gave it to me. I lost respect for them. They didn’t leave their baggage at the door and lost all credibility with me and some of the group.
So, constructive criticism, what it isn’t is your opportunity to make someone look bad or to make yourself look better. If you are driven to do either, you may have some soul searching to do.
Never let anyone dull your shine.
Thoughts my WP’s? Been on the giving or receiving end of destructive crit? How did you cope?
Tell me all about it. I love it.
image- Golden Gate Bridge at night
Oil on canvas by me.