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Thursday, September 23, 2010


The diamond is a piece of transparent stone that becomes a precious gem when cut and polished just as criticisms cuts and polishes writers when building careers in creative writing.

Every writer needs to be cut and polished with criticisms if any good is to be derived from their existence. In their desire to be the best that they can be, they encounter criticism more often than they even bargain for.

Writers submit their works for critique in order to assess how they fair against set standards and view judgment stemming from others' interpretation of their literary pieces. However the critique mostly come back as severe criticisms. This generally over shadows the inherent goodness in criticism.

It is noteworthy, that many experienced writers critique in manners that are discouraging, damaging and rude, whereas the ultimate purpose of critique is to assess, guide and motivate. Because creative writers breath in criticism like oxygen, a positive attitude to it must be developed by both the critic and the critiqued.

Take the case of Ole Bull for instance, he was a famous Norwegian violinist of the past century. He was born 200 years ago in 1810. He was very talented and had been playing solos as early as age nine. His father was a chemist and a very practical person, who believed in education.

Therefore he encourage his son in the  academic pursuit of theology, but Bull believed so much in his ability as a violinist that he abandoned formal schooling after failing the entrance examination.

However, Bull trained in music under several teachers but they did not use any academic rules.They, the teachers and Bull, all had raw and unrefined skill.  In spite of Bull's music lacking technique, he was able to  develop a personal style good enough for commercial success, which he got initially in America.

His raw and exceptional talent encountered  several severe bashing while touring and doing concerts in Europe.There, he never impressed serious musicians and critics. In fact, in Italy, a Milan newspaper critic wrote: "He is an untrained musician. If he be a diamond, he is certainly in the rough and unpolished."

Of course to every action, there will be a reaction, either negative or positive. Bull had a choice in either getting sore and angry, and eventually disregarding  the comment or analysing it thoroughly and learning from it.

Happily his choice was to learn. He fished out the critique and had a beneficial detailed meeting with him. From that encounter, he was able to list his faults and weaknesses and also found out how he could get help to correct them

As a result of  taking the criticism positively, he had to take certain harsh decisions required to enable him improve. Eventually, he came back and conquered Europe at age twenty-six (26) and became a music sensation unequaled where he was erstwhile seen as not serious .

Criticism is an essential part of the required ingredients for growth in any industry, and the reactions to them often means the difference between success and failure. For Bull, criticism made a difference.
Give and take criticisms to facilitate growth.

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