I've recently had the opportunity to have a variation of the same conversation with three different people, all of whom contribute in some way to either the House fandom, or another fandom. One of these people hates House, but we're friends anyway ;). And hey--there's no accounting for tastes, right?
Anyway, our discussions have centered around reviews and comments [or the lack thereof] and the power these words have--not just the effect on us, but also on our work. I believe we've all been guilty--I know I have--of reading or viewing something that's moved us, or amused us, or impressed us in some other way, and then telling ourselves we haven't the time to compose a thoughtful comment. Maybe we even tell ourselves we'll come back to it "later." And we rationalize this by saying, Oh, it's such a great piece; I'm sure s/he will get plenty of praise.
Not always. I've noticed, especially at the Pit of Voles [aka FanFiction.net], that the general rule is that the more thought-provoking a piece is, the more skillfully it's written, the smaller the chance it'll receive the number of reviews it deserves, much less the quality of a thoughtful, appreciative, insightful comment. Sad, but proven over there time and again.
And reviews and comments can make a huge difference--not only to the author, artist, iconist, whatever--but also to whatever they're creating. I know that on several occasions, I've changed the intended direction of a story, or given a scene more depth, or even continued something I'd been ready to abandon, based solely on something someone took the time to say. And this is true with both honest praise and with valid criticism--I'm equally appreciative of both because both are valuable to me--as a writer who's always striving to improve, and who wishes to have an active, involved fanbase who feel appreciated.
I guess my point is--those two or three minutes you choose to take [or not take] can wind up meaning a lot to the creator of the work you've just enjoyed, or learned from, or felt you might help improve. Of course, there might actually be creative types out there who have such healthy self-esteem, such confidence in their own talent, that they don't need the feedback. But--if such people even exist--I'm certain they're in the minority.
So what I'm saying is this: to the reviewers--a heartfelt thank you; your words can make as much of a difference to us as our creations make to you. And to my fellow creative-types--I hope you're more diligent than I at supporting and encouraging our peers. I know that I'd never have gotten through my own most recent "crisis of confidence" had several of my peers not stepped up and said, Knock it off; you're good at what you do. So I resolve to take that few minutes myself, on a more regular basis, to try to say a few meaningful words when affected by someone's creation. I thank everyone who's ever done it for me--and I strongly encourage all of us to do it for one another. We're a talented group, and I believe we owe it to one another to cheerlead for each other as appreciatively as our amazing reviewers do.
Okay, too introspective today, done now, sorry!