Have you ever had a critique that made you want to crawl under the covers and not come back out? I imagine most writers (including me) have experienced this. What could be worse than that?
Imagine it being on televised for everyone in America and Canada to see. Imagine being criticized for your work - your masterpiece in front of a room full of other aspiring writers. I personally think that’s (a little) worse than the nasty words on the paper questioning every word or every character thought or character action. At least we can read it in the privacy of our own home with whatever comfort aid is the most soothing (wine, stiff drink, chocolate and hanky in hand).
Well I don’t generally watch much television, but “Master Chef” has me addicted. It’s not about aspiring writers (thank goodness as I would never have the guts to do it, would you?) Instead it features home-taught cooks for the opportunity to be a chef in one of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s famous restaurants. These are not trained chefs, they have regular jobs like engineer or architect or tattoo artist that enjoy cooking and have aspirations of becoming a career chef.
Ramsay and his “mean” team as I like to call them, torment and scrutinize each of the cooks’ assignments and well, they get down right personal. Ramsay’s comment on one dish was that it was like someone had taken a skin graft of his butt and that was what he was trying to force down. “Dreadful” was his mutterings as he walked away.
Each week I tune in, not only to see Ramsay and his team tear a strip off another cook, but to see the cooks’ reactions to it. Some are devastated and buckle under the harsh words, while others come out fighting and even more determined to show Ramsay. Those are the ones that I find inspiring.
Despite all the negativity, there is a happily ever after - unfortunately not for everyone, but a possibility for the last survivors. I’ve watched a few of Ramsay’s shows and the “critiques” never let up, not until the end when he finally has kind words for the two standing at the end. The cook that manages not to crack under the pressure and remain strong and gets stronger gets the ultimate prize - their dream job. Would you be able to battle it out and stick it out to get your dream writing job?
Next time you get some harsh words about your writing, think long and hard about it and then thank the person for helping you get that thick skin and another step closer to your dreams.