Never Get Discouraged · 24 March 2018
Never get discouraged. Ever. Regardless of what your critics say.
With the advent of social media, it is easy for writers and others who post stuff on the internet to get discouraged. After all, people criticize, people vilify, people dislike whatever they want. They can even be anonymous when they do it. But those who dislike and criticize are not the worst part about writing in the social media, instant feedback age. The worst part is that there are those out there who believe that stuff and act on it in a negative way. The worst part is that some people get discouraged or even quit because of something a critic said or wrote.
We all (especially writers) need to remember two bits of age old wisdom:
Don’t sweat the small stuff. (And it is all small stuff.)
Don’t believe everything you read.
Sweating the small stuff is something all of us, writers or not, need to remember. Bad stuff happens. But in the large scheme of things, that stuff becomes small. Having a bad hair day or not having any ideas or having an idea that got away are bad at the time, but they really are the small stuff. And while they matter in the moment, the moment passes. Especially when we remember to not sweat the small stuff. (And it is all small stuff.)
Not believing everything you read is a bit tougher. Whether we are talking about being critical readers and determining the source before making a judgment about the validity of any writing or just talking about dismissing our critics, we often forget that not everything written is true. I like to tell anybody who will listen that we need to take a catcher’s perspective when we are criticized. We need to catch any criticism in our mitts instead of putting them right into our hearts. Then, we can take them out of the mitts and examine them one by one. If they are valid or offer some insight or correction, we can put them into a place where we can use them later. If not, we can just throw them away. They mean nothing. I wish I could say that I thought that strategy up, but I just repeat those words of wisdom because they make sense. There is no use getting upset because somebody said I cannot write. I just throw it away and move on. (Even though at times I wonder if that person is right.)
There is one other bit of wisdom I have for those who write and those who share their creativity on the internet. If you give up because of what somebody else said, you were probably not very committed to your craft in the first place. You are looking for an excuse to quit and as they say, any excuse will do. But for those who get discouraged and wonder if they ought to keep on keeping on, I have a couple apt clichés for you. You need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep on keeping on.
There will always be critics. Always. Many of them are critics just because they are envious of what other people do with their talents. Others just like to criticize anything and everything. But critics are usually in the minority. They are just the loud ones. Those who like what you write or what you create are often silent.
I was reminded of this when somebody told me that somebody he knew was a fan of mine. I rarely believe those thoughts that I might have actual readers and fans out there (even though I know that there are people who read what I write). But hearing that I have a fan I did not know about is like a breath of fresh air. It is encouragement in this lonely endeavor called writing.
So while today I am mostly writing to remind myself that I need not get discouraged that I do not have tons of fans and followers on social media, I hope others remember that they should not be discouraged regardless of who it is discouraging them. As Winston Churchill reminded us, “Never give up.”
And never be discouraged. Regardless of what anybody says.
© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi
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