The power in the impact from such a phrase relies heavily upon the source. Is there credibility to that source? Is it from someone you know, like, and or respect; or not? Is it from yourself (same aforementioned fields applied)?
One of the difficulties in writing is that, particularly for longer projects, one works in isolation without the feedback or input of anyone else. That means that there is potentially quite a long time to wonder ‘What the fuck am I doing this for? Is this actually any good?’ This (I’m told) is natural.
In the feedback I have received in my admittedly short time writing in various mediums, I have found encouragement without which I never would have found myself in university. As alluded, this does mean I have had mainly positive and supportive assessments of my work and abilities. However, in an environment such as this I am subject to a higher volume of feedback – and therefore criticism. In receiving my first graded assignments, I have had any kind of illusion that I am merely here to have my ego stroked shattered. This isn’t to say the grades have been bad (it’s a pass/fail year anyway), but in my last returned assignment the critique got under my skin a little. Comparatively, it was also graded the weakest despite being what seemed to be the easiest assignment.
Am I sounding arrogant yet? So cocksure I had this coming, perhaps? Maybe, but in all likelihood I don’t know, like or respect you – so your opinion is of little consequence (say sorry)…. Did that sting a little? Not a lot, but did you feel just a little venomous prick? That was the aim (you do, in fact, have my respect in reading thus far), and perhaps now you can feel a little empathy in reading on.
I suppose that I am a little confused in why a little conflict of opinion on my work has irked me so. The particular paper was an analysis of two works of poetry without any outside knowledge of author, context of published year, making it an essay on personal interpretation and contrast. My deduction is that being told that my analysis of the texts, supported my elaborated explanation and reference, was debunked on the basis it differed from what the poetry was actually about (and I still fail to see any evidence supporting the critical counter argument). Comments of this nature made up at least 70% of the feedback, and I feel that my writing has not benefited from the assignment a single iota. If anything, it has corrupted my belief in my written communication skills, and has me concerned for my other assignments awaiting their grade.
Of course, this is one-sided. I have no doubt that, if challenged, this marker would have a little more to say in their defense than ‘you have misread this. This is what it actually alludes to. Here is no evidence to support this (probably some on Sparknotes though)‘ – but enough of that. The result is that I was left with a feeling of ‘not being good enough’ and having produced sub-par work. I have since shed this feeling, reasonably easily regarding the feedback itself (the marker has yet to earn my liking or literary respect), but less so from the emotional collateral damage any writer must undoubtedly feel in the earlier days or when being critiqued.
The story goes on. I have no time for self-doubt.
Listening To: The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Image Source: Google Images, Giphy
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