Comment Support Group #5.1 - Finding Confidence

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My name is _______ and I am a commenter…

Well, of course you are! If you are reading this, more than likely you are a commenter, and what commenter doesn't have concerns, problems, issues or more with commenting?

That is why ProjectComment has formed a Comment Support Group to help people with commenting. To be utterly honest, we can't improve your commenting skills for you, but we can help you improve only if you want to improve.

Both commenting and improvement are individual processes. It's up to you to become a better commenter, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone!

We are here to foster a group where commenters feel safe, where commenters feel they have the right to share their thoughts, feelings and more about commenting, where commenters have the right to open up, seek advice and get the support they deserve.

None of us are here to make fun or criticize. We are here to encourage commenters to share, discuss and, most of all, challenge ourselves. It won't happen overnight, but if you take baby steps with us - one day, one week, one piece, one deviation at a time - we hope you will become the commenter you are meant to be.

Finding Self-Confidence - The Value of Everyone's Opinion

Self-confidence is useful in all situations. Whether you're deciding what to have for dinner tonight or whether you can climb that proverbial mountain, confidence in yourself and your decisions will always play a great part to the end result.

When it comes to deciding whether to leave that amazing artist a thoughtful critique, confidence will play a part in many ways. A lack of it will hinder not only your commenting abilities, but also your ability to improve – both as an artist, and as a commenter.

1. I feel scared that the artist will take my comment the wrong way…

A legitimate concern, which I think many of us have shared, or share still. The better question is: why do you feel scared? Is it because you feel your art level is too low, and the artist would potentially resent your well-meant critique? Are you shy rather than scared, and have difficulty approaching other people, because you simply don’t know how they'll react?

Here at ProjectComment, we promote a simple set of values: interchange, inclusion, interaction. What this basically means is that we want to encourage you to interact with fellow artists, be inclusive in accepting others even if their opinions differ from yours, and interchange knowledge, passion and a few laughs should it occur! We're here to exchange ideas, opinions and, in the long run, improve ourselves as artists and commenters.

It's natural to be afraid of what one doesn't know – be it an artist's potential reaction, difficulties in writing a comment, or just fear of what lies outside our comfort zone. Let this ex-social phobic tell you this: other people are just as scared as you are. Sometimes even more so. No one's going to judge you – truth is, people who judge others have issues of their own. Another's judgment is not a comment or true statement of your worth, but how they view the world. Who knows: maybe your comment will actually broaden their own horizon. The first step is always scary to make, but it gets easier the more steps you make. :)

2. What if my comment comes off as rude or offensive?

One thing you can do to minimize that risk is to read your comment over before you post it. Not only will you be able to pick out typos, but reading it to yourself may make you realize you've phrased something a little harsher than intended, or didn't explain a suggestion well enough, etc. However, this can be a double-edged sword: you may pick out mistakes and improve your comment, or decide your comment isn't worth posting and abandon the idea altogether.

Aside from reading yourself over, ask someone else's opinion. Be they a friend or one of our Comment Mentors at Ultimate Comment Support (…), there's always someone out there willing to help you out. :)

And if all fails anyway, don't take it to heart. Perhaps the artist was having a bad day. We're all human after all, and sometimes it's difficult to anticipate a person's (irrational) reaction. Take a deep breath, talk to a friend, contact a Mentor to help you see what possibly went wrong, and don't let one bad experience get you down. I know it's easier said than done, but remember: if you love commenting and helping people, chances are you'll want to do more of it eventually. You'll figure things out while doing it. They do say you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. ;)

Isn't the result worth it, though?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Finding Confidence, tomorrow, same ProjectComment channel! :D
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Aerostar181's avatar
I guess I have a problem then cause I can't bring myself to say anything of worth... Mostly because I have nothing useful to say, or I might be gunshy after having people blowing up on me for saying even the slightest things about their art... I can't tell anymore...