Some years ago I stood at a precipice. It was called "graduation."
Freed from the restraints of schooling at last, I was expected to begin contributing in earnest through the application of the education I had received. I looked over the edge and wondered how to find footing. There was no bridge, only a sudden drop into nothing. I could not proceed without manufacturing a bridge. I set to work.
Due to disabilities, I was unable to work outside the home, so I built my bridge inside it. I gathered my finest skills and offered them for a price to those who needed them most. People who, like me, sought to distinguish themselves from the other fish in the river. I took their work and polished it until it shone bright enough to draw attention. Once spotted, their bridges appeared.
In the process, my bridge was built by helping others reach their dreams.
Whether it was an office job, a grant or publication, I was their go-to girl. Whatever was handed to me, I asked and answered the following questions in the following order:
- What is the goal for this piece?
- What is working?
- What is not working?
- What will improve this piece?
- What should be celebrated even if it does not fit with the piece or the goal?
I used positivity as a basis for my practice. Why? People were coming to me at their most vulnerable. They arrived uncertain, dreams in hand, often opening their hearts and crying to me because what we worked toward felt unattainable. It was a far bigger job than I imagined. I always want to help everyone. It is part of the reason I've been drawn into the bad relationships I am now recovering from.
I learned much from the responsibility of critical dream-tending. A critic is what I was. I took in applications, artist statements, book proposals and more. I reviewed, edited, rewrote or ghost wrote whatever was handed to me. I did it carefully, with the sensitivity of an empath hurt too many times.
The most consistent feedback I received was that my kindness was appreciated. That the changes could not have been made it I hadn't been nice about the way I suggested them.
Yesterday, I announced that I will be working with @lifeisawesome to curate whale-upvoted work by minnows in an effort to gain viewership for writers and artists whose high-quality work is going unseen. To that end, #project-positivity is now a channel in steemit.chat and @positivity has been registered for resteeming and upvoting curation. Further, because a goal of the project is excellence in what is being produced and promoted, I requested the channel #writing-exchange be added. There, we can gather and share our ideas, art and writing with the goal of constructive criticism and artist growth.
Already, work is being exchanged and critiqued. There is a small community of writers of all experience gathered. I hope you will join! And when you do, I hope that you will give criticism with kindness, the way you would like to receive it. I did not know it when I began, but it turns out the giving of constructive criticism can be its own positivity practice and ultimately, a bridge even trolls aren't a fan of hiding under.
images via pixabay.com