• Phil McDonald

Dealing with criticism

I'm sure you've been there - You've created something, music, art, poetry and you're really pleased with the outcome. You take the brave step to put your artwork out into the big wide world and although you get the thumbs up from most people, you get a comment or two which is less than complimentary. Why is this and how can you deal with it?

To answer the first part of the question it's necessary to go back a couple of decades to when the internet became mainstream. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere on the planet opened up an enormous opportunities not only for creatives but for critics too, and to make matters worse, anonymous critics. A generation of keyboard warriors was born who for some reason take pleasure in trolling and leaving negative comments for hardworking musicians. You only need to look at the comments section of a YouTube video to see what I mean. Unfortunately there will always be those who take pleasure in causing upset and negativity.

If you do receive criticism for your music ask yourself is it valid? The knee jerk reaction is to immediately exclaim "How dare they!" but it's useful to ask yourself if they have a point? Have you changed something recently, have you tried to change genre to some extent and your established fans aren't so keen? If the criticism is valid can you take positives from it? Instead of getting upset can you learn from it and use it to try and improve yourself? Used like this constructive criticism can be a very powerful tool.

If you feel the negative comments you might have received are unjust and unfair, what can you do about it? The short answer is nothing except ignore it. If online trolls are targeting you, don't engage, don't get sucked in. Delete any offensive comments if necessary. It's not a good look to get into an online argument with an anonymous troll, it's far more professional to let it go over your head.

Lastly, use it to your advantage. The music business can be a pretty cut throat place sometimes and learning to deal with unkind comments can make you stronger and helps to grow a thicker skin. Everyone receives criticism at some point, some justified, some not and knowing how to deal with it is a very useful skill indeed.

I talk about this in greater detail on this week's podcast which you can listen to here.

Have you received online criticism? How did you deal with it?

Thanks for reading


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