Critiques are what we need, what will actually help us become better writers, but we can all use the occasional compliment too.
I feel energized today because my boss told me my grant proposal was the best written and best thought out series of experiments to ever come out of his lab! I suspect he's been taking management classes on how to motivate his employees, but it worked. The slog doesn't seem so bad today and the sun is shining a little brighter (it also took the sting out of him saying that I need to get more papers published).
Artists (be they writers or painters or whatever) thrive on compliments. Maybe it's because we're more in tune with our emotions. I have to critique my husband's paintings all the time, and when I tell him he's done something good--better yet if some random person on the street tells him the painting is good--then he's soaring and far more productive for months afterward. If, however, I have to admit that he didn't quite pull something off then he's in the doll drums for at least a week before he can get the motivation to go back and fix it.
Writers have to put up with a lot of criticism too (for our own good), and we wouldn't get any better without it, but there's nothing like a small compliment here and there. When one of my lovely followers says something nice in comments, I feel great and want to blog and write more. I think that's part of the reason my writing confidence has grown--this wonderful community of compassionate people. It's also why I try to compliment other people whenever I can, spread the love. We know we need criticism, and we expect it when we send something off to test readers or discuss our work in a critique group, but sometimes we just need someone to find one good thing in what we do and say "good job". With that, we can gather the energy to keep going and do better.
So, I wanted to say to all you struggling writers out there (published, unpublished, thinking about it...) good job! Keep trying, don't give up, and hold onto what you love, that's the most important thing.
Has anyone else received a compliment lately? Do you try to find something good to say to people even if you have to criticize some other part of their work? What keeps you going?