WRITER’S MISERIES AND NIGHTMARES: DESTRUCTIVE CRITICS | Article by John Chizoba Vincent

There are many devils who called themselves critics but they critique to kill.
They deliberately kill young and blossoming talents with words. They destructively say those words that would make you think you are not ripe enough to write. Sometimes you end up discovering that they don’t really know what they are saying. These set of people are everywhere, some of them can’t even pick up their pen to write or construct a good story or article/essay but they are always there, waiting and observing you; whenever you post or write, they would pounce on it and tear your write up into two like hungry lions. Some of them make writers feel miserable and unwanted. They make writers devastated and weak. I am not saying that it is not good to critique a work of art; in fact, critiquing a work of art helps a writer know his or her weaknesses and common holes. It makes him or her know and understand where to adjust and where to leave. If you really want to critique a work of art, it should be done constructively, critique constructively without leaving the writer in confusion and misery; critique constructively to help the writer realize his or her mistakes and how to work on them to better his or her art. 

 

...some of them can’t even pick up their pen to write or construct a good story or article/essay but they are always there

 

Some writers out there have been killed because of unnecessary pressure critics mounted upon them by critics.
Some no longer write because of what you told them about their works. Not every writer has the mind and courage to withstand some comments on their works. Not every writer can see some bad comments on their works and take it just like that. Some writers are emotional, some are fragile, some are broken, some are weak, some find comforts in their lines, and some are strong and brave while some are not. However, you can kill some of these weak writers with your words. You can easily make them lose concentration and focus on what you say or write to them.

 

If you really want to critique a work of art, it should be done constructively...

 

In 2015, I once acted on stage with some Actors in Muson Centre, Lagos. Prior to the date, I had rehearsed my lines and blockings. In fact, I went to the market and bought a standing mirror. I placed it on the wall of the room. Every time I wanted to rehearse, I would always go to the mirror to watch my expressions, movements, and gestures because that was what we were taught to do while rehearsing. The day came. All the Actors were gathered, we were meant to come out one after the other to introduce ourselves and say a few lines. After the play, one popular filmmaker whom I will not mention his name here called me off stage and said to me: 
 “Vincent, don’t force it, acting is not in you, and you can’t make it in acting; quit and look for another thing to do with your life…” 
Those were the exact words he used. I was devastated. After that minute, I ran out from that spot and headed to a nearby balcony. I paced from one spot to another pondering on what he just said to me. When I got home, I could not sleep at all. I was rolling on the bed thinking about what he told me. I showed some of my friends the videos of my previous jobs and they said I was good to go that I shouldn’t quit. But this man had already spoiled everything I stood for then. And to be honest with you, that was the end of my acting career. I stopped acting because each time I went out there for Audition, his words always came to me, It happened to me at Tinsel Audition of 2015, 2016 and 2017. The worst was in 2017, I was in front of the panels and I could not alter a word to them.  I was just looking at them until the woman asked me to go. It was that man’s words that were playing in my mind until I left there to my house. These are what unbiblical critics can turn you into. Some make your life miserable while others elevate you, help you find a solid ground to build on your craft.   

In 2016, I wrote a poem and posted it somewhere. I think it should be on a WhatsApp group and someone sent me a message immediately and claiming that I should stop writing. According to him, he said I wasn’t good enough to be a poet and that my lines were not strong enough to make up a poem.

 

Some make your life miserable while others elevate you, help you find a solid ground to build on your craft

 

Although I was somehow discouraged because the poem took me two days to write, I can’t remember how many lines I canceled and how many times I deleted the poem and still went back to it. After that, someone somewhere who doesn’t know how to create a line said I should stop writing because writing is not in me?.
Those words made me not to write for a whole week until I picked up the courage again to write. The bitter truth here is that the said poem was accepted for an anthology in India that same month.

The point here is that not everything every critic out there says about your work is truly what your work is. Sometimes when these words come, read them, accept those you want to and leave others. Some other times, when these words come, take all to your heart but don’t allow it to break you.

 

not everything every critic out there says about your work is truly what your work is



Don’t allow it to destroy your creative ability and capacity. Writers exist to be criticized; critics exist to find creatives to criticize. Critics are everywhere, in every work you do, in every profession, in everything you do in life. I have worked in a film set we spent six months and some weeks in pre-production, production, and post-production and when the film was previewed by critics we were surprised on what some critics said about the film. Some of them were there when we were preparing to shoot and they brought some of the ideas we used and at the end of the day, they kicked against the same idea they brought in. 

 Meanwhile, in order for you to grow; you need them in everything you write, you need them as a creative person, you need them in your profession. Allow them to see from a critical angle different from the one you saw. Allow them the grace to dig deeper into your craft. Whatsoever they say about your craft, take it in good faith and work more to improve, no one does it better in the world of creativity.

Writers exist to be critiqued, Critics exist because there are works of art to be critiqued. 
 

Share this with friends

Latest Tweets