Sensitivity Takes Strength
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Sensitivity Takes Strength

Why it's important to remain strong when you feel constantly criticized on creative projects.

Sensitivity Takes Strength

This semester has definitely been one of immense growth for me as a writer.

For a while now, I've drifted through, not really knowing what I was good at and not even really knowing what I liked to write. I just wrote whatever I felt like I wanted to.

My creative writing class has been extremely trying for me this semester because I've realized that I'm not a Tolstoy or Hemingway. And that's okay, too, even if it isn't what someone is looking for. But it is disheartening to feel like what you write is just never good enough because you're writing something that is true to yourself.

This in itself is a growth, learning to accept that there's no pleasing some people, but I think the real growth for me has happened in a class I was so unsure about taking to begin with. It focuses on freelancing as a writer for magazines. I'm no journalist, so the thought of this class was scary to me at first. But I've grown more as a creative writer in this class than I have in any other class in college.

I've been forced outside of my comfort zone, into doing interviews and talking to people. But I've found that, given how quiet I am, I give people plenty of space to talk. It works. I've found that the style of writing comes very easily to me with this format. It feels even more natural to me than writing fiction. And I always find myself looking forward to the next article, wanting to explore and see what I can do.

My most recent article was about a local man who played Santa for many decades and the impact that it had on his granddaughters. It wasn't heavy at all, there were no deep messages you had to dig for in the writing, but I can confidently say that it is the best thing that I've ever written.

And I know why.

Over the course of writing this article, I cried a couple times, honestly. On both ends of the spectrum. I truly felt Santa's pain at the loss of a loved one and the way loss changes Christmas. When one of his granddaughters talked about the value of Santas in our world and how that applied to her grandfather, I felt the pure love between them. I felt in my soul how deeply she believed that her grandfather had made a difference. I knew it was the truth. It made a difference in me.

I wrote much of that article staring at a screen, eyes blurry with tears, listening to Santa talk through my ear buds. In those moments, I knew. I got it, the story that they were trying to tell, and what it all meant in the long term.

And as much as I got it, I realized that there will always be people who don't get it. There will be professors who look at your writing and can find nothing but faults. There will be readers who don't understand, either. But there will be professors and readers who look at your writing and feel it just as much as you do.

When you find those people, you'll know. When they tell you how to improve your writing, there will be no doubt in your mind that they only want to help you push your writing to be that much better.

There are so many people in this world that are only out there for themselves. These are the people you'll meet that are on some kind of power trip and seem to genuinely enjoy telling everyone else everything they're doing wrong. These are the people who are incapable of saying that you've done something right. They will break you down and make you feel like you should just give up.

But don't.

Stick it out. Because you can be the positive voice that people need. Look those negative people right in the eye and repeat over and over to yourself that you will never be that guy. No matter where you go--if you write a bestseller or decide to become a college professor--never be that guy. Your success means nothing if it turns you into that guy. Instead of treating others with constant criticism, be the person that extends to them a helping hand.

Take the feedback with a grain of salt. Stay true to you. And keep working, because you're going to find someone who gets it. They're the ones you're writing for, anyway. And when you go places, like I know you will, you won't be that guy. You'll make it better for those who come after you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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