in Writing

Art has a safe space

But it may as well be called “creative purgatory.”

As much as it pains me to admit it, there are words that “trigger” me. I don’t mean that in the PTSD way, but in the Tumblr “oh my God, did you assume where I stand on the whole Chris and Anna thing” sort of way. Those words are “safe space,” when used in conjunction with “writing.”

You could substitute any creative effort in place of writing, and my reaction would still be, “No. Jesus, no.” Here’s why:

Art without criticism is crap.

There’s a word for writing created without the intent to ever give it an audience: journaling. At some point, someone is going to have to look at what you’ve written and have opinions about how to improve it.

And how you react to feedback in the early stages of your writing dictates what you’ll do down the line. Picture yourself getting that first rejection letter from an editor or publisher. Will you crumble? Or will you keep your chin up and say, “Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have devoted an entire paragraph to the sandwich preferences of my main character.”

Your work is never “finished.”

But don’t take it from me. I’m just some guy.

The same goes for any sort of writing. There’s no final buzzer. The cows don’t come home when you type that last period. It’s over when you say it is. But how do you decide – especially when you’re trying to get published?

Well, you could go with your gut on every last decision, refrain from sending your work out to anyone and self-publish. Or, you could put yourself out there and get your work critiqued by people who could very well be part of your prospective audience, and make tweaks based on their feedback.

Life favors the thick-skinned.

The benefits of leaving your comfort zone extend beyond art. Crumbling under criticism hurts you in art and in life. Steel yourself to handle even the harshest comments about your writing, and suddenly being told that you “throw like a girl” (guilty) or “trash the kitchen every time you cook” (ditto) won’t sting as much.

You could also look at your areas of weakness and try to improve on them, but who am I to tell you how to live your life? I mean, I cook with passion, and so what if I spill half a cup of flour all over the counter and get brown sugar on the floor?

I’m only human.