creative process: Seeking Feedback

06 Jun

Ultimately, we do not create in a vacuum.  We hope that our work will be interesting to others, to move them.  And we hope our work will create connections for us with others.  Our Composer of Music for Art was, back in the day, a performing musician.  She spent a great deal of time practicing, and not so much time cultivating friendships.  So for her, performance was an important part of how she connected meaningfully with other people.  It was partly an ego thing, getting the praise for a good performance, but it was also a crucial way for her to present who she was.  She was about her art, her music, her passion and the emotions she conveyed through her performances.  So when people saw her in performance, they saw her, got to know her, and this created the connections she so sorely needed.

But she had a certain level of insecurity which prevented her from benefiting in a more challenging way from the connections she was establishing in her performance.  She was not seeking out critical feedback.  Feedback is the food that nurtures artistic growth.  Sometimes it can be hard to take.  So many of us don’t solicit feedback, because it might hurt, or disappointment, or simply put in our face significant issues which are going to take hard work and lots of time to work through.

But for those who are strong enough to seek out honest, critical evaluation of their work, there are certain immediate rewards.  The most obvious is the reward of self-knowledge.  The better we know ourselves, the more powerfully we can convey that self through our work, or on the other hand, abnegate that self for the sake of our work, for the sake of channeling creative force and energy through us.  We better understand aspects of our personality which may block the creative flow, and we can make adjustments.  Another fairly obvious benefit of feedback is to discover how successfully or unsuccessfully we are conveying concepts in our work.

Although meaningful adjustments and improvements in our process will take time – nevertheless from day one we are in a better position because of meaningful feedback.  Something will happen today, for the good, in your work, that would not have occurred yesterday.  This may be, for example, a bit of creative destruction, as we break a project apart a little bit in order to rethink and reconstruct work.

Critical feedback is harder to come by than praise.  Praise comes of its own accord – it is easy to give because generally the reaction will be favorable.  If you complement someone, generally they like you.  If you are critical, you cannot be so certain of how the individual will react, and depending on your relationship with that individual, you will have a lot more hesitation to share.

So the artist needs, for her own good, to be a bit aggressive in soliciting feedback.  She needs to encourage, to assure, that criticism is welcomed, valued, needed, that the relationship is not made or broken because of tough or negative feedback.  Our Composer for Art was working with an artist to show on, and at the last moment the artist backed out, saying “she did not like it” . No more than that, unfortunately.  It would have been helpful to solicit more specifics about what the artist did not like.  But on the bright side, our Composer was very gracious and very careful to assure that the relationship remained intact despite the rejection.  And over time, our Composer will seek more detail about the reasons for that rejection, and possibly be in a position to work with her artist friend in the future.

Find the meaning in each day.  Find the sweet spot, the gifts of the day, the low hanging fruit.  accept and embrace who you are, be patient with who and what you are trying to become, trying to achieve.  Pet your dog, have a sweet treat, say something nice to someone, cut yourself some slack.

have a great day and spark on!


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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in creative process


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