Being an artist (of two forms in my case) comes with it’s limitations- mostly the subjective form of art. Some will love it, some will be critics, and let’s face it, no one will ever “get it” as much as you do. Maybe that sounds pretentious, but parents know their children better then any of the kids in their class- even their best friend.
When your art is criticized, it’s easy to get discouraged, but you must consider your audience. Does the grad program you want to attend like evocative work? Are they a religious institution that would be offended at your blatant satire of religion? I actually submitted a satirical story to my school’s literary magazine. I shouldn’t be surprised that it was rejected.
I’m not saying that it was perfect or even enjoyable. Maybe it was terrible, I don’t know, but it did get me thinking. I need to consider my audience. A nice, heartwarming story may have been nicer, or maybe at least satire that didn’t involve the big man in the sky.
But writing for your audience poses it’s own problems. NYT Bestsellers are not often hard hitting, or even hitting at all. Yes, they are well written, but Girl on the Train means nothing to me. Maybe it meant something to the author, but that’s the issue. You can’t write for every audience. Every audience member has a different experience.
I do a ton of stream of consciousness writing- whether it’s writing a journal entry, blogging or writing my fiction pieces, I write whatever comes to mind. Maybe that’s why I feel so terrified when I let other people read my work.
I know that beta readers are great. They can help you edit your work without being afraid that they’ll be unnecessarily mean or harsh. They help you develop your piece. It’s hard not to feel intimidated by people when you show them your most inner self- and your art if definitely your most inner self.
I’m not even sure where I’m going with this, sometimes you just need to take a little break and evaluate.
Do you love what you’re doing? Yes.
Do you want to improve? Yes.
What are you willing to sacrifice? Your pride? Yes.
Then those are the only things you need. You have to be willing to get taken down a notch, because we all know, as artists, that in the long run, we’ll be better for it.