Artful Aggression: How We Abuse Our Creative Work & Why We Shouldn’t

Have you ever watched a movie, sat in horror or just sheer irritation as you witness one character (generally a parent or a lover) verbally abuse their child or partner? And as you are watching you begin to judge that character thinking, “Gosh, they are wrong. I would  never talk to my child like that.”

The scene ends, the couple or family members come to some peaceful ground, and then the movie ends.

“We cruelly victimize our art. Art’s greatest victimizer is often the one who created it.”

The movie ends but the hypocrisy continues.

In the Book of Matthew 7:5, Jesus says “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

You are probably wondering, what in the world does a scene from a movie and teaching from Jesus have to do with art. They have everything to do with art, even if indirectly.

taken from
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We as artist and writers  have a tendency to look at our creations the same way the harsh parent or the cruel lover in the movie look at their child and partner.

We, like these characters, look at our creations (children born from us, lovers grown through intimacy and time) with unreasonable scrutiny, judging it with irrational standards.

One minute we are in love with what we have done, staring at it with admiration. The next we are setting it ablaze or trying to hide it from world’s view because of some “issue” that we have convinced ourselves is there.

We cruelly victimize our art. Art’s greatest victimizer is often the one who created it.

The fact of the matter is, this criticism of our creations is spelled out in the verse in the Gospel of Matthew. We subconsciously or consciously, have an issue with our self and the displeasure with ‘self’ becomes an attack upon our creative works. We don’t deal with our ‘planks’ so we burn up the splinters in our work.

“…if we can’t celebrate our growth, then what is the point of growing at all?”

Now, I know Christ Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking about how we treat our works of art when He said this, but the truth of the matter is, we cannot truly be kind to others if we are not kind to ourselves. We cannot love others if we cannot love ourselves, and this is the same for our art.

I had to call myself out on this a while ago when I nearly destroyed all the work I had put into one of my novels.

Let us, as artists, writers, parents, and lovers, come to a place of self-love and appreciation. Let us realize we are good enough even if we still have room to grow, and thus our creations are good enough even though they have room to grow.

Art and expression are about the journey. It is about telling the story in truth and authenticity from where we currently are. This should never be victimized, but always celebrated. After all, if we can’t celebrate our growth, then what is the point of growing at all?


~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*This was originally posted on November 4th, 2014.


6 thoughts on “Artful Aggression: How We Abuse Our Creative Work & Why We Shouldn’t

  1. Don’t throw it out! Don’t don’t don’t throw it out, please! The picture above is right! In a week or a month you’ll remember something in it that had a potential! Someone once said that even if you’re writing crap, crap makes good fertilizer.

    I nearly reached through my screen to ask you to stop throwing it out, then I kept reading. You’ve made a wonderful breakthrough in understanding — one that took me about ten or fifteen years longer than you to reach, by the way. I’m really happy for you! We are who we are, and the same goes for our writing. We get better at it much faster if we embrace it. So give your writing a great big hug and keep going 🙂 — good luck!

    1. “if you’re writing crap, crap makes good fertilizer. ” That is an excellent saying! Really good stuff!

      And thank you for the encouragement. I am not throwing it out. I have come to my senses and as I have working on it I have been writing down notes about things to fix during revisions and editing. I am still fleshing out the characters but I know they will become more solid with the editing.

      Thanks again 🙂 Hey how is NaNoWriMo going for you?

      1. Up and down and going forward. I’ve learned that the best way for my to handle it is to look at it as a “writing lab.” Multiple ideas? Try them all. No ideas? Try out something in a risk-free environment and see what sticks. All those ideas that have for later? Just write them now. I’m looking at it as the commitment to writing 50,000 words of an unfinished story is more important than having it all be cohesive at this stage.

  2. I absolutely love this. Yes, looking back at some of my earlier work I occasionally shudder, but on the flip side, looking back helps me recognize exactly how far I have come.

    1. Me too! It’s A blessing to look back and see our growth in our craft and confidence. I have paintings that I literally threw in the garbage that a cousin of one fished out to later hang on her walls for the world to see. Surprisingly, those who see the pieces love them where I did not. Point is I shouldn’t have tossed them being embarrassed for them not being good enough in my mind, that or just didn’t value them as I should have. both sides of aggression are wrong.

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