Amy Tan on praise and criticism

Just a little bit more from Amy Tan, from this interview with her. The topic is close to home for me as a writer, as for anybody who tries to be creative and thereby takes the risk of humiliation. (Isn’t that what creation is?)

As a writer or creative type, you need good and honest feedback to see whether you are/are not connecting with other minds. But it gets complicated:

“The question for me is, “How am I affected by praise?” I am more fearful of praise these days because I don’t want to depend upon it. In the world of book publishing, there is never a comfortable balance point where you either have enough praise or enough criticism. If you get this kind of review then you worry about what’s going to happen with the next. So there’s never any comfort point.
On the other hand, I welcome criticism when I’m writing my books. I want to become better and better as a writer. I go to a writer’s group every week. We read our work aloud. They’re old friends, and they treat me as an equal in the group, meaning they tear my stuff apart like anybody else’s.