During the entire month of April, I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The alphabet will be my motivation, though the content of the posts will be very similar to what regular readers are used to. Check out the link for more amazing bloggers, and enjoy April!
But that's not just writing, that's life, right? Every day someone has a suggestion for us. A boss, a spouse, a child, a neighbor. Ranging from the simple "your hair looks cute down, you should wear it that way more often" to the more time-consuming "I wouldn't have done it the way you did, but if you'd like, I'm happy to help you redo the entire thing to adhere to my vision." (Not to say that some hair styles aren't time consuming, but I've already spent years on that freaking story...anyway).
The thing that's easy to forget - for me anyway - is advice is an opinion. It's not law, or fact, or a rigid 'must do' of any sort. Just because someone suggests something, doesn't mean we have to listen. On the other hand, just because we don't agree doesn't mean the advice isn't good.
There's a fine balance. I think one of the harder skills for most artists to learn, is where that balance is. Listening to and considering advice, and weighing it fairly against your vision for your work. You can't incorporate everything. But it's probably best you listen to at least some of the input, even about changes.
Say, for instance, you really wanted to write a story that blended mythologies. Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc. And your story was set in modern days, with all of your deities walking the city streets and interacting with people.
Feedback that suggested you only use Greek gods because Isis and Artemis weren't created at the same time in history may not be conducive to your vision.
Feedback that suggested you explain why all of these gods were living this way may not damage the story as much as help the reader understand your vision.
And if they if they suggest a rewrite of the entire thing, is it because you didn't write it the way they would have, or is it because you have a flaw running through your entire plot? And do you refuse because then it wouldn't be your story any more, or because fixing it would be too much work?
And the list of questions to consider goes on and on.
My question is, how do you determine if the advice you receive from day to day is useful or not quite for you? Or to take it a step further, what if the intention is right, but the suggestion isn't? How do you use the advice to take things in a more appropriate direction than what was suggested?