May your hunger guide you through nights wilder still.Nafre.
I thought I’d start this post off with a quote from Nafre, a ridiculously wise friend of mine. Last week he signed a message off with ‘May your hunger guide you through nights wilder still,’ and I’ve been using it as a source of creative fuel ever since.
The suggestions you’ll find in this ongoing series are going to be made up of things I’ve been actively doing since the beginning of my creative journey (well before this here Internet existed), things I’ve picked up on over the past few months and things I’ve only started thinking about and putting into practice during the days just gone.
I hope you’ll uncover something useful buried between these sentences. If there’s anything you read about that you’re especially clued up on and feel could do with some additional wordage for the benefit of the folks who are reading (and me!) please do make yourself at home in the comments section.
Some Words For Creatives Going Forward
Don’t Let Negative Reviews Crush You
Last year, soon after the second Cave Mouth album was released, a review surfaced which criticized my voice. It stung initially, of course, but the thing is, I was already aware that the vocals I’d recorded weren’t brilliant, A: because I was unwell when I recorded them and I wasn’t aiming to achieve perfection, I just wanted to achieve something after a long time of achieving nothing. B: because I hadn’t sung or recorded anything in ages and C: I hadn’t been singing for a great length of time anyway…it all started as an accident back in 2019.
While the reviewer’s comments irked me for a little while, it wasn’t long before I was able to brush them off and leave them behind. The album wasn’t put out to gather praise, it was put out because it needed to be put out, as a monumental ‘fuck you’ to depression. Also, I was confident in my ability to do an improved job as a vocalist on future Cave Mouth releases, when I was in a better state, mentally, emotionally and creatively.
I haven’t actively searched out other reviews of the album, and if more negative stuff exists out there, I’m not phased by it. I am just really happy, really bloody happy that I had the opportunity to, in a matter of weeks, magick something into existence with my bandmate/Sister Shaman Meghan Wood when depression wanted to erase me from the face of the earth. (I’m also happy, and astonished, that it’ll be re-released this year by Non Posse Mori Records! I was not expecting that!)
My experience with negative (and also unnecessarily cruel) reviews goes back almost two decades from when I published my first book. Even before my book got a publishing deal, I’d acknowledged and accepted there would be people who enjoyed my work and people who really didn’t. And I was prepared to reap what I could from both sides. From what I last saw, a year or so ago, the negative reviews were still coming in. But I’m fully accepting of the fact that the book wasn’t well written (I don’t know how it got a deal, to be honest!) and I’m not affected by them because I’ve spent pretty much every day since it was published honing my craft and can say, with confidence, that I’m a considerably more adept writer nowadays.
If seeking and receiving reviews is a valuable part of your creative journey, or if you intend for it to be, read your reviews with a notebook in hand. Take note of the positives said about your work, and take note of the more unfavorable comments too, to see if you can garner anything constructive that may help you hone your craft.
Whatever you decide to do about reviews, never let yourself be crushed by a nasty one. Never let a handful of hate harm your productivity, creativity or self-worth. Yes, you can hurt for a little bit (I did) but don’t let a negative review take away anything more than a day. Climb up, get back to work on whatever art magick you’re conjuring, and let your hunger guide you.
What I Was Listening To When I Was Writing This Post