Show Your Work – part 8

Learn to take a punch

Let ’em take their best shot

The more work you have put in the wild, the more criticism you’ll face. Don’t take it personally.

  1. Relax and breathe – anxiety lies to you
  2. Practice taking critique – exposure reduces fear, familiarity breeds contempt
  3. Keep going – criticism is what happens when you make an effort. Some critics just want you to stop making them look bad; prove them wrong.
  4. Protect yourself – keep work of a personal nature close, but remember: “Compulsive avoidance of embarrassment is a firm of suicide” (Colin Marshall).
  5. Keep out at arm’s length – work is what you do, not who you are.

Don’t feed the trolls

Trolls don’t care about you. They don’t care about making you a better artist, they just want you to shut up and stop trying to do stuff; they want you to be as uncreative and unproductive as they are.
The worst of them find, quite by accident, an echo in your own self-doubt. Block them – early and often – and delete their comments.
Trolls will cry “free speech” or claim you’re making an echo chamber by shutting them down, but you aren’t required to listen to everything everyone says, especially if they’re trying to hurt you, and your improvement as an artist depends on your ability to differentiate between people who want to see you improve and people who want to see you stop.

Turn off the comments on your portfolio site. You’ll just have to delete the spam anyway.