This week I was invited to a link party by Randee of Randee's Organized Chaos where she hosted a link up that was all about constructive criticism. As a former teacher, I know how important getting genuine, objective feedback on whatever project you're working on can be. A fresh set of eyes can be enlightening and incredibly helpful. Handling the criticism part could be where it gets dodgy. In the spirit of risk taking which I talked about here, I decided to put myself out there and get two anonymous critiques of my blog. I won't lie and say that I wasn't feeling a bit daunted at the prospect of what two other bloggers, perhaps more seasoned than I, thought of my blog, but I took the plunge and did it anyway, hoping to learn something in the process.
So what did I learn? Well, it's really easy to hear the complimentary stuff, and even some of the little personal opinions that might be different from my own. The first reviewer gave me fantastic advice, especially with subtle layout and technical things that I was too close to pick up on. Even her/his negatives, were polite and helpful. I was feeling mature and proud of how I handled the criticism. And then my second critique was emailed to me. And apparently, I suck. No bones about it. Ouch.
I have to be honest, my maturity went right out the window for a minute or two. It was really hard not to be defensive when I felt certain that someone who read only one post was misjudging me. But, I took a risk and put myself out there. When I stopped to think about it, it really didn't bug me all that much. The bottom line is that I looked for criticism and I got it. It's always nice and affirming to hear positive things, but not necessary.Ultimately, if I've learned anything in 36 years, it's that I can't please everyone and honestly, I really don't want to. So one person thinks I suck. Maybe thousands do, and they are completely entitled to their opinion. As long as I don't, then I'm in good shape. Risk taken and I survived.
A special thank you to Randee for challenging me and coaxing me out of my comfort zone!
What risks are you contemplating?