Kevin Smith is retiring from the filmmaking industry. After directing movies like “Mallrats,” “Dogma,” and “Clerks,” he’s calling it quits. In a recent article in Rolling Stone he talked about the things that led him to that decision.
In the article, which was written by Josh Eells, there was a great paragraph about creativity and criticism:
“Again and again, Smith insists bad reviews have nothing to do with his wanting to get out. (Of the movie industry.) And yet, again and again, it keeps coming up. He can quote a pan that the Los Angeles Times gave Mallrats 16 years ago. ‘If Sundance or the AFI ever offers a course on what not to do as a second feature,’ he intones, ‘Mallrats should be at the heart of the curriculum.’ The truth is, he says, “I do care. Obviously, too much. That’s why I’m getting away. I’m exhausted, trying to prove myself over and over in a field I’m not good at.”
For 16 years, Kevin Smith has carried that bad review around with him. The film critic has long forgotten writing that sentence but Kevin has held on to it for close to two decades. And in his words we see a really important truth.
Holding onto criticism is one of the most exhausting things you can do.
Regardless of who it is from. Regardless of what it’s about. Regardless of the reasons why you think you’ve still got to wrestle with it or fix it, it’s something you need to let go of.
Carrying a wound forever will forever leave you wounded.
Let it go. Put it down. Give it up. Learn from it if there was a lesson in the criticism, but leave it behind. Empty your hands and your heart of the attacks. Working on your dream is a hard enough experience without thinking you have to carry the weight of criticism with you along the way.