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Monday, December 1, 2014

Assessing Your Own Work

Yes,yes, as talented as we all are, there are times when we have to get frank...not Frank, but frank.... with ourselves and what we are trying to create.

Time to ask ourselves....is what we are making or writing or molding or painting or designing really good?
Better yet....is it good enough?

Well 'tis a tough question. Really.. are we qualified to even assess our own works?
Or is it smarter to hire an outsider with a critical eye to give us the real goods on our own work?

Well, as Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a time and a season for every activity under the sun.
Therefore, I do recommend one thing, don't apply a critical eye to your own work when it is in it's infancy stages. Nobody criticizes a toddler for wobbling when he/she takes their first steps from the couch to the coffee table. Nobody argues with a baby for missing their mouth and smearing strained peas onto their cheeks the first time they handle a spoon.

Therefore, you must be gentle to yourself, especially if your work has not yet ripened to maturity. Perhaps you need to read one of my older posts "Your First Try Isn't Going to Be Your Best Work" and give yourself a break. You might, after all,  have the extra sensitive soul of an artist.
We don't take criticism lightly...in fact we are more likely to sob into our pillows for nights on end over one harsh comment. Even if our work is brilliant our hearts remain soft and vulnerable.....because that is simply what it takes to stay good at what we do. Crusty hard hearted folks are rarely creative and when they are, it comes out in vicious ugliness. Therefore learn to guard your sensitive creative soul. It thrives only when protected.

Let me just say rather mystically, that you yourself will know when you need to take a more critical look at your own work. Maybe the page views are down, maybe the online sales have stalled. Maybe your banker is not returning your calls. Time to take a second look.

On a final note, when you've bitten the bullet and decided it's time to assess the merits of your own work, don't be too harsh on yourself unless of course your ego can handle it. Be just honest enough to be able to make the changes that are going to usher in your newer better work. Give yourself that courage to make clever changes by allowing yourself to note what is no longer working and what can be let go of.

Some ambitions are temporary  occupations. Other ambitions deserve your years of faithful persistence and
determined efforts. But know the time and the season that you are in. Is it time to tweak your strategy? Is it time to acknowledge that you are actually a better artist than your family thinks you are?

Self assessments can go both ways. They can either convince you to stay the course and build momentum and stick-to-it-ive-ness....OR.....it can challenge you to accept that something you're doing was an unfortunate mistake in judgment and needs to be let go of. Have the strength to say a firm YES or an equally firm NO to yourself once in a while. Trust me, it's easier to hear it from yourself than from an outsider.

You be the judge. Your eyes and ears and heart will know what to say..


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