Let’s start this off properly with a warm Merry Christmas to all. When I realized that Christmas fell on a Friday and that one of my posts would be going up on it, I began to think about what I could write for the special occasion. I wanted it to be simple, because really everyone should be spending time with family, not reading my blogs, but still related to the holiday in some way.
After a lot of brainstorming, I think I figured out a topic that works.
A while back, I talked about how hard it can be for a person to receive praise. They often don’t believe they deserve it and feel like an imposter in their chosen career. Well, I’ve been thinking about praise some more and I realized that accepting it is only half of the battle. What is equally difficult is giving praise in the first place.
How Is Giving Praise Hard?
Let’s be honest, it shouldn’t be. Giving someone praise should be as simple as: “Hey, I like this. You did a good job. Please make more.”
There. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
So why don’t we?
I have seen so many amazing pieces of art, written works, and videos that have been incredibly fun, cool, or enjoyable, and yet, how many have I commented on? Probably only a handful or two.
A part of this I chalk up to my being shy and learning to keep my head down on the internet because it can be, well, you know. You never know who or what you are going to run into online. Sometimes you might meet someone nice, but more often than not you are going to run into trolls. Due to this, I’ve always tended to keep to myself online, and in person, but I’m trying to change that.
I think the rest of the problem comes from assuming. We read something that we perceive as being so far out of our league of possibilities that we just assume the creator knows how awesome their work is. How can they not? They had me staring in wonder at the beauty of their picture, crying laughing from their video, and nearly in tears from what I read. How could you throw them into Tartarus, Uncle Rick!
How can these people not know how good their creation is?
Well, I mean as artists, the answer is obvious. We are always doubting ourselves and our abilities. That’s why I wrote a whole article on taking praise. We need to learn that we might actually know what we are doing, that we might actually be good at something.
I’ve even run into this problem with my writers' group, which I touched on in my receiving praise article. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in editing that I forget to let the writer know I enjoyed their piece. I’m constantly having to remind myself to add some praise in with my critiques because, at the end of the day, I really did enjoy reading it.
Leaving praise isn’t easy, especially in the age where you can read multi-paragraph long reviews of albums on sites like Amazon. If you are like me, you struggle with the idea of trying to say something meaningful that doesn’t just sound like a caveman hearing music for the first time.
“Is good. I like. Make more.”
We want to write something meaningful, but I think that we overthink it. While those kinds of reviews are definitely nice, so are the more common reviews of “this is great!” This goes back to how simple giving praise to someone should be. It actually is easy to do, we just overthink it and make it out to be harder than it actually is.
This concept can extend beyond simply giving an artist praise. How often do you tell the people that you care about how much you enjoy having them in your life? Don’t just assume they know. Tell them!
Share the Love
As I’ve begun creating for myself and sharing my work with people, I’ve come to realize how nice it is to hear that someone liked something that I created. I want to share that feeling. I’m trying to get my voice out there so I can let other creators know how much I enjoy their work.
I encourage you to do the same.
You have no idea how much a few simple words can make an artist’s day. Just letting them know that you enjoyed their creation can put a smile on their face and inspire them to keep going.
So, if you have an artist on your friends list, why not check out what they’ve been working on? Take the time to really look into their creations and if you find something that you like, let them know. I can guarantee it will put a smile on their face.
And Merry Christmas!