Is your baby ugly?

Creative projects are the artist's baby.
Source: Photo and graphic from Composite by author.

Well, you didn’t hear it from me nor is it likely you will hear it from anyone else you know.

Who wants to hurt feelings when “how cute” will go a long way to ensure continued dinner invites for years to come? 

It’s a similar situation when you try to get an honest assessment about a creative project.

A creative project is a labour of love.

A creative project is often a labour love that gives birth to a work of art. Whether it’s a film, a painting, or a photograph, it’s the artist’s baby. It is rare that anyone you know will tell you your baby is ugly.

So how do you get a realistic assessment of your creation?

You need to be open to improving.

First you need to be open to it.  We sometimes just want to hear praise and try to ignore anything negative.   But if you want to learn and improve you need to be open to constructive criticism.

Assuming you don’t have the resources to create a focus group that will provide insight into an audience’s engagement, you need to devise simple ways to gather similar information. 

I will use my experience in video and film as an example.

People need to feel safe

First, you need to have questions that make people feel safe to express an opinion that will allow them to engage with you honestly. 

My favourite question is:  How long was the film you just watched?

If they respond with three minutes when the film was 10 minutes in length, they were engaged enough to lose track of time. If they say it felt like 30 minutes, it’s time to re-examine the project.

Another question is: What characters did you like and why?

There is no right or wrong answer, but the level of detail they retain reflects their engagement. For example, if they know the character’s name and their role in the story, they were engaged.   If they have questions about the character, it also means they were thinking as they watched – a true sign of engagement.

Another question: Are there parts to the story you didn’t understand?

If they had a problem in following a story or character than it’s a failure to communicate not their ability to comprehend. But it also shows a level of engagement.  If they didn’t care, they would have ignored the issue or just disengaged.

It’s about engagement.

The fundamental point is that you are learning not from whether they “like” the product but from their level of engagement.

This is one of the reasons I think thoughtful comments on posts are far more important than likes or short quotes like “great job.”

So, what other questions can be used to reveal engagement?

Can this idea be added to products, services or issues?  

Add them to the comments below, and I will comment on them.



Is your baby ugly.  It’s an artists’ dilemma. Who will really tell you your new piece of art, “your baby” is ugly?  First you need to have questions that make people feel safe and allow you to judge their level of engagement.  Link to Blog



Finding out if your baby, “your  creative project” is really ugly is a challenge for the best of artists.

5 thoughts on “Is your baby ugly?

  1. Your blog is very nice the way you used the title and subtitles are very funny and very engaging the way you have put them your blog is very well put together and unique.

    • Thank You. I was trying to be light hearted yet still trying to make a point. Sometimes humour just makes things easier to digest.

  2. LOVE your topic, and can totally relate! The amount of effort I can put into a project or a small idea for my online business to get very little engagement… can be so frustrating.

    I will definitely be taking your advice on encouraging honest feedback, as I am always interested in what my audience would like changed/improved but many people aren’t comfortable speaking their minds to business owners.

    Something to consider for your next blog post could be drawing your subheadings out of the writing a bit more. It was obvious while reading when you moved on to a new point, but it could be amplified with something as simple as a bold font or sizing them up to jump out from the body of information. Hope you find this helpful!

    • Yes – thank you for the comment.

      I like your point about the subheadings. I do find it is sometimes a struggle to find the right point to bring out in a subheading.

      It would interesting to know what your online business is.

      Thanks Again

  3. Great tips for keeping people engaged (or how to assess the level of engagement). I think your title was catchy, it’s why I chose to click on your post first, so koodos for thinking outside the box.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.