People who create always want to feel like their work matters and one way is to seek comments from others. While friends and family are probably the easier to turn to, I find that I learn most when I receive frank comments from the perfect stranger.
The problem I usually face with feedback from friends and close ones is also highlighted by NYTimes.com’s Design Director Khoi Vinh: eliciting honest and critical comments. After all, the point when sharing a work is not to receive a ego massage, but pointers to improve on the work.
But as I have written elsewhere, it is so easy to criticise but so darn hard to be critical, so maybe that is why people don’t want to fall into the trap of saying things they can’t really explain and end up hurting friendships.
To offer a critique does not require one to be critical.
This c-word sends shudders down the spine of all creators, conjuring an image of a knife stabbing through the heart of your work and adding a few twists just to make sure it is truly dead. One can never be too sure.
But to be critical does not necessarily mean just disapproving judgements but rather, an analysis of a piece of work to comment on its merits and faults so that people can see its elements and better understand it. Thus, a critique is not about tearing a piece of work apart but rather building it again part by part.
And the reason why we are all so afraid of critique, ableit our fears misplaced, is because everything we do is a part of us, and the greater you love it, the greater you fear losing it to others.