Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 273: welcome criticism.

The writers of inspirational advertising books have oft recommended that the creative individual be open to criticism of their work. The general argument is that criticism or outright rejection of one's work is an opportunity to go away and come up with a better idea, or improve on the original one. This isn't always strictly true. Sometimes people kill great ideas just through lack of taste, or wreck lovely ones with their ugly alterations. Such is life. But today I went through a process that proved the theory right. After another long day of writing and idea generating, we got the unwelcome news that a client didn't like the headlines on an urgent job. It was back to the drawing board and a race against the clock. Pulling energy from already depleted stores, we managed a pressure session and produced more lines which we were happy did the job. Great. But at the very moment we were pinning down our final selection to be presented in the morning, the founder and owner of the company enters the room, sees the lines and says: they need to be more fun. And he's right. They would have done the job they needed to perfectly well, and they weren't without charm, but there was room to make them better. So even as exhausted as we were, we set about writing them again. And low and behold if lighter, funnier, more appealing lines didn't start coming out. But of course this process wasn't easy. It felt a lot like hard work. And I noticed in myself plenty of resistance burbling readily to the surface at each suggestion that we start again. It's problematic as a creative, because being able to endlessly come up with new ideas is not only a requirement of our job, but also a point of pride. The only acceptable response to the rejection of an idea is to come up with more. And yes, a lot of the time, you do end up coming up with better ones. I know this. I only wish I could learn to react with a little more calm and grace, and welcome the criticism as the opportunity it so often is.


  1. I know what you mean about dealing with situations with calm and grace. Something I am battling at the moment :-)

    Just a question though - do you feel that your tolerance levels have risen since not drinking? Just interested to find out


  2. Well Jo, I've never really been known for being the most tolerant individual, having, as I do, quite finely tuned critical abilities and a pretty short wick. But I'm definitely generally happier and in a much better mood than I used to be on the piss, which I think translates into a higher tolerance level all round.