by Shawn Hancock
When you first stretch out your hand to do something creative there is always someone there to hold it or slap it. When you involve yourself in creative work you make yourself vulnerable to the armchair critic. If the criticism is too discouraging the creativity may end right there.
If you want to live where creative innovation takes place, social and economic problems are solved, environmental conditions improved, and the arts and entertainment thrive, then you should be about the business of encouraging creativity. People should be allowed to grow in their creative endeavors without someone looking over their shoulder. They should be encouraged to continue in their work not judged for it. This is most important for small children since they are impressionable and are not likely to dismiss criticism very easily.
Not all creative efforts are meant to be spectacular, some are building blocks to greater things. How is one to build on these building blocks if the discouragement of others is constantly tearing them down? Any courage the creative person can generate is spent on starting over again, if they have the tenacity to do so.
If someone shows you their new work of art and you don’t care for it, lie. Your opinion isn’t necessarily the truth and it’s more important that they feel good about themselves and their effort. Don’t judge your own creative endeavors either. If you don’t like it, don’t tell yourself that you are not good at it, just see it as a stepping stone to something better. Go in the direction of your heart. You don’t have to be great at it. You just have to enjoy it.