David Byrne posted in his blog today that one of his friends warned him not to read a review of his current tour in the New York Times. It was less than flattering and was written by someone who had not liked his work in the past. He did not look at it and passed on this wise advice about timing when you take on criticism.
While taking criticism on board can be constructive, it can also be detrimental to the creative process if it’s considered while that process is still under way. It undermines one’s enthusiasm and will — which is OK, beneficial even, but only after a tour (for example) is over. This review, by all reports, wasn’t helpful criticism anyway — it seemed to be one of those reviews that comes from some psychological issues the writer has — and therefore even a belated reading is not going to help us refine what we do.