Ever since high school, I've been performing in front of people. Actually, I guess I've been performing as long as I could remember. Trying to make people laugh, impress them--I've been putting myself out there for a while. And when you do that, be it on stage, in a class, on paper, you set yourself up for praise or criticism. You're voluntarily allowing yourself to be judged, measured, and not only do they judge your performance/art, they judge your education, your background, pretty much everything.
And it can be brutal.
In college I sang in an incredible forty-voice choir. I thought we were pretty good. In fact, there's not many choirs I've heard that were better. Being in a talented group, you get used to hearing good things about yourself and the art you produce. Then, after a performance, we got a bad review in the paper. The next day in class, our professor/director said something about reviews. He told us we can't just believe the good reviews. He said not to put too much credence in the good, because you'll have to do the same to the bad.
In short, if a good review can make your day, a bad one can ruin it.
A few weeks ago, my book went on sale. And a writer's bread and butter is getting reviews, preferably positive ones. I've gotten a couple of reviews, and the latest made my day. It's because the review came from a twelve-year old, just the age for whom the book was written (you can read the review: HERE...). A middle-grader gives a middle-grade book a great review. That's a win-win-win.
So, how should apply my professor's advice now? Good question. I suppose, as the author, I shouldn't allow the reviews to dictate how I feel. But I've been looking at reviews perhaps in the wrong way. I've been looking at them through my perspective, how the words affect me. When I read these kind words from this twelve-year old, I think about how my words affected her, how it made her feel.
And when I think of things that way, it made my day.