Book Review: For Writing Out Loud

For Writing Out LoudFor Writing Out Loud by J.D. Estrada

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a glowing beacon of positivity! If you watch motivational speakers, this is a great supplement, and if you’re on a positivity journey, this will help you along. It’s full of excellent advice on how to: enjoy the moment, avoid judging yourself (and others!) harshly, appreciate even the most difficult times, keep a smile on your face instead of beating yourself up, and a ton more.

The book has sections that cover a specific topic, and within each section are much smaller sections (replacement for chapters) about more detailed topics within the overall topic. It’s easy to navigate so that you can look up whatever you need a boost in and read away. The small sections are about 2-3 pages on average, and the author has a very casual, relaxed way of writing, almost as if he’s having a chat with you.

If you struggle with negative self image, insecurities, seeing negativity instead of positivity, struggling through “bad days”, this book is a good one for you. Let the author talk you into a happier disposition. He’s good at it!
I’ve been reading this before I go to bed and waking up ready to attack my day. I would even classify this as a daily reader for positivity and motivation, although I usually read a few small sections at a time. I highly recommend grabbing this book and keeping it by your side as your positivity companion. It won’t let you down!

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Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Ignoring Harsh Criticism

Happy Monday! I hope you have a great start to the week. Remember, Monday is the start of the runway to the weekend.

Now, let’s talk about harsh criticism. No, I’m not talking about feedback or critique, I’m talking about the stuff that makes people stop pursuing their dreams.

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Let me define exactly what I’m talking about:

Useful feedback / constructive critique: comments that point out how your work can be improved without using aggressive language; sandwiching honest but non-aggressive feedback on your work between compliments; having a positive attitude (i.e. using supportive language, encouraging you to keep up the good work).

Destructive criticism: comments that point out how your work can be improved while using aggressive language (i.e. stupid, useless, ridiculous, pointless); only providing criticism with no positive points; having a negative attitude (i.e. laughing or joking about your work, comparing you to “real professionals” and therefore insinuating you’re not).

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It’s hard to stay positive about work you love when you feel attacked, and while creative people have to have thick skin, that fact should be true so that we are able to accept critique, not attacks. For attacks, we need shields, and once those shields are up, it’s much harder to hear the useful critiques.

Unfortunately, unnecessarily harsh criticism will never stop, so it’s up to us creatives to sort out comments that count from comments that are intentionally hurtful. To accomplish this, we need to ignore adjectives meant to sting as well as insults, and sift out the actual critique that could help our work. So when someone says, “This sentence is phrased in an ugly way”, we need to hear, “This sentence might need some work” because remember, critique and criticism are both opinions, not fact. So take a look at that sentence objectively. Maybe it does need work, maybe it doesn’t. That’s your decision, and your decision shouldn’t be made because of embarrassment or irritation caused by a comment. It should be made based on neutral consideration. Remember to neutralize the next criticism you see or hear and then – and only then – should you consider it.

To those reviewing writing, artwork, grading papers, writing about an actor’s performance, etc., just remember:

be-an-encourager-the-world-has-plenty-of-critics-already-quote-1

It’s all about helping each other, not tearing each other down, no matter what has happened to you in your personal life. So get out there and encourage the next person you see. You’ll both feel better for it.