Monday, June 11, 2012

IT'S ALL SUBJECTIVE

As humans,

As writers, why do we let negativity affect us so much?

Why can one negative remark stick with us, upset us, deflate us, ruin our mood or even our whole day?

Why is that we can receive dozens of compliments and not obsess over any of them, but when a stranger says something negative we let it fester?

I don’t have the answer.

But as an author who has my beloved stories “out there” for strangers to love or hate, I have developed a cardinal rule, a mantra, a declaration that every writer/artist/human should keep in mind at all times: You can’t please everyone.

You can’t. I promise you; YOU CAN’T.

Stop trying. Stop worrying about the people who don’t like what you’re doing, saying, or writing. Readers have different tastes and expectations. Over six billion people exist on this planet. That’s A LOT of opinions. Don’t focus on the people who don’t like you, your book, or whatever. They are entitled to their opinion--even if it’s negative.

Focus on the positive. Focus on what makes you happy and keep doing it. Authors, embrace each and every tweet, email, review, or comment from readers who say they loved your book. Let those comments be the ones you replay in your mind as you go to sleep each night. Focus on the positive. Brush off the negative.

Art is subjective. Life is subjective. Opinions are subjective. Books are most certainly subjective. Go read reviews of the most popular book you can think of, I assure you, there will be people who didn’t like it. It’s normal. It’s expected. It’s a given. Because it’s all subjective.

Every writer has been through this struggle--or will at some point in their career. We all take the negative comments to heart--even though we shouldn’t. Maybe it’s because we put so much heart, soul, and passion into our writing. When someone says our heart, soul, and passion is crap; it hurts like hell.

I know. I get it. I’ve been there. I still occasionally read a negative review and reach for a cocktail to help me cope, but then I remember my number one rule. I repeat my mantra.

I can’t please everyone.

Then I reread fan mail and positive reviews, and focus on the proof that many people out there DO love my work. Those readers make this crazy roller coaster ride of writing the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Haters and all.


11 comments:

  1. This is fantastic advice, Karen. The trick is in learning how to apply it. I have my moments of strength, where I brush off a negative opinion. Then there are those other times that for some reason I can't shake it and let a negative comment seep inside my head and my heart, causing all sorts of doubt. This is just another reason our cyberspace writing community is so awesome! We're there for each other. ;D

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  2. This is so true. It's a hard lesson to learn and one that may not go away easily. Those negative comments can be torture, but you are right you can't please everyone.
    Thanks.

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  3. Great post, Karen! I don't like everything I read or want to be best friends with everyone I meet. So why should I expect everyone to like me or my opinion? It's not going to happen! However, that doesn't mean we're allowed to ignore being kind and courteous.

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  4. I guess you have to remember that you don't necessarily like everything that you read and that's fine if someone doesn't like your book. I think it would be hard if criticism turned personally, but you're motto is great: You can't please everyone.

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  5. Just a part of being a writer. :) I'm happy you have such an amazing attitude about it, though! It can be a bit of a roller coaster, and honestly, there are books I really hate out there that a lot of people love. I certainly don't think ill of the author, and I have to remember that when negative stuff comes my way.

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  6. Thanks for the reminder. Negative comments can really drag me down if I let them. But I have to believe in myself, and that comes from somewhere inside.

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  7. Off topic, but I LOVE your blog design! It's so gorgeous and professional! <3

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