Does it bother me that no one reads these blogs except for Laura Lilly? Not really. I’d love it, of course, if more people read and commented on my posts, but developing a readership wasn’t my primary intention for creating the blog. The purpose was to share information and insight on the things I was reading and writing. If people wanted to read them, that’d be swell. If not, it was good practice for me.
Whether anyone ever reads my ramblings or not, writing is something that I have to do. I could just keep my thoughts in a private journal, but anyone can do that, right? While there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s something else I’ve been working on (in addition to practicing the craft): being more courageous about getting it out there.
It saddens me to think of the people I know whose voices and abilities are much superior to mine but who are reluctant to let anyone see their work. They’re afraid of censure, ridicule, or rejection. Some of you who are reading this might be thinking, “Well, maybe they just want to write for therapeutic reasons and have no intention of anyone reading their work.”
Fine. That could be true. However, I know literally dozens of people who want to share their thoughts, sometimes with primarily family and close friends, but in some cases with a wider audience. An acquaintance has written a manuscript about a controversial topic and is reluctant to share his ideas, even on a blog. He’s afraid people might “hate” him and dismiss his work as rubbish. I say, “So what?” I also say, “You can count on it, Buddy.” No matter what you do or how sterling the work is, people will ridicule and criticize.
Does it matter? Not really.
Advice on dealing with criticism abounds, and here are a few of my favorite quotes from people I admire.
“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Aristotle
While the esteemed philosopher pretty much nailed it, I have to add one little thought. Often people will criticize you even if you say nothing, do nothing, and are nothing (in the world’s estimation), for they will say you are dull or socially inept or lazy.
I wanted to include these lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson because of a conversation some friends and I recently had about weeds. Yes, weeds. The gist of the conversation was that some weeds are indeed beautiful and we wondered who it was who declared them as valueless, undesirable, or troublesome plants. Even little children are attracted to them, and I have often been the recipient of glorious yellow dandelions from my grandchildren.
“Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.”
And finally, Dale Carnegie’s reminder that “Nobody kicks a dead dog” is funny, short, and right on target. Be alive and moving and creating even if it makes you a subject for derision or scorn.
Encouraging other people to write and to share those stories, pieces, articles, essays, poems with others wasn’t my original intention, but evidently it’s something I feel strongly about…and perhaps something I need to pay attention to.