It is not the critic who counts

Photo taken at Whiskey Monday's Viewing Room.
Photo taken at Whiskey Monday‘s Viewing Room. I call it “Whiskey’s Wake”

The critic didn’t like it.

The critic called you names.

The critic accused you of something you weren’t aiming to do.

Flinch. Step back. Lick your wounds.

But don’t you ever, ever, stop. Don’t stop from expressing what’s in your heart. Don’t ever let the critic, the spectator, the bystander, the observer, the jealous, or the envious, stand in the way of your art.

Fuck them if they don’t get the joke. It’s not for them.

Some will like it. Some won’t. But, someone else is always waiting. Waiting to discover you. Waiting to be led by your words. Waiting to be inspired by your images. Waiting to see the part inside you that, somehow, miraculously, without effort or will, touches them to follow you in your wake.

Lead on “MacDuff, and damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!'”

Oh, and listen to Teddy:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

4 thoughts on “It is not the critic who counts

  1. This is brilliant and I totally agree. It feels to me as though when people like themselves and are creating from the heart, they aren’t bothering with making disparaging remarks and casting the old stink eye on the efforts of others.

    Some people don’t want to do the same old safe thing they’re proficient at over and over; the learning and practicing stages for new things surely don’t display perfection, but absolute perfection isn’t the point at all.

    Life is easier and more fun when I’m not thinking right/wrong or good/bad but instead seeing creative expression as “for me/not for me/not for me right now.” And using my mind for other than judging.

    Whew! Hit a nerve. 😉


    1. Yes! You’re absolutely right Pearl. While it wasn’t me who was the subject of the trolling that inspired this post, I have been on the receiving end of such mean-spirited behaviour. What bothers me most, is not the negativity or judgement in the first place, but rather the response! How many artists (and I mean anyone who follows their passion in doing what they want to do – not only traditional artists) have allowed themselves to be stifled by the few? How many things have we not seen or heard because these artists concealed their gifts after receiving that one criticism too many?


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