Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Critics: Everyone gets 'em.
I don't always get positive feedback on my blog. Occasionally, there is the odd person who anonymously writes me saying that my work is crap and that I should give up on my career before I even start it. I've also been told that my blog is "poorly written and insulting." Well then! I guess you really do need thick skin to be a writer. Just to clear some things up, I love what I do, and I think I'm good at it. Obviously you people do too, otherwise you wouldn't read it anymore. But allow me to let you in on a little secret...
I started this blog for my family and friends to conveniently update them all at the same time on my adventures in Italy. It was also for my own pure enjoyment, and to craft my skills as a
writer. I ended up getting much more viewers than originally expected, and a lot more praise than I ever though I deserved. I have to admit that there are some things I've wrote on this blog that I thought was pushing the envelope and have regretted, but I've learned my lessons. And if you think one person's negative comment is going to make me stop doing what I love? Think again.
The truth is that even though I'm an amature writer and am still young, I've learned a lot of very important lessons in my life, one of which I want to pass along to you reader's. Everyone has bad days and deals with negative criticism at some point in their life, and it's important that you don't take everything to heart. I love what I do and I think I'm really going somewhere with my writing, and if you don't like what I have to say or how I say it, then there's great news for you - you don't have to read my work. Of course I love that I have a wide audience and am glad that the majority of people are enjoying it, but there is always the odd person who disagrees with what I have to say. And that's ok - it's a part of life. Even brilliant writer's like J.K Rowling have dealt with negative reviews. But as the very wise Ellen DeGeneres said upon the backlash comments from One Million Moms against her position as the spokesperson of
JC Penny for being a lesbian, "My haters are my motivators." I don't like to say that I have "hater's", because I think that's ridiculous. I remember my sister once said, "If you're not famous, you don't have hater's. People just don't like you." But you get the just of what I'm saying.
No matter what your talent is, what you look like or what type of person you are, there is always going to be someone out there who doesn't like it (whether it be your singing, your freckles or your loud laugh). This is what I want to pass on to you all... As long as you're happy and confident in whatever it is that people are criticizing, let it roll off your back. Unless it's constructive criticism and you can genuinely learn from it, it's not important. Reflecting on this made me seek some words of wisdom from a friend of mine, Eddie, who is a professional journalist. With his permission, I am
carrying on his lesson to you in hopes that it teaches you what it taught me and will reread this message whenever I need a confidence boost or a good laugh:
"You have an open mind and a thick skin. While there might be 5 people that like your work, there will be 1 that won't. That's fine. You can't win them all. It's like how I think Nickelback sucks yet they still have legions of fans all around the world....and they keep making music!
Take me for instance. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the greatest at sports writing. A while back there was a reader that commented on the website that I "wrote like an excited 8-year-old" and that he didn't get why I "was still employed." My editor told me not to sweat it and there was nothing wrong with my work.
It's all subjective. It's easy to say don't sweat it. But put it in this light: critics aren't spending their every waking hour thinking about you/your work, so you shouldn't do the same about
them. It's hard at first not to take it to heart. The first negative feedback will always sting. But it shouldn't matter. It's mind over matter. You don't mind that they don't matter!
What doesn't kill you make you stronger. Stand a little taller......damn you Kelly Clarkson song!"
What I want everyone reading to know is this... You can be the funniest person in the school, and there will be at least one person who thinks you're boring. You could have the most beautiful face in the entire world and be on the cover of Vogue, and someone will find a flaw. You could be the greatest writer in the entire world and sell a million copies and stay on the #1 New York Times Best Sellers list for weeks, and someone will think that you suck. But I've noticed that whenever I try to please other people, I end up unhappy. And that isn't fair. No matter what you do in life or who you are, there's always going to be someone you doesn't like you, so you might as well just be yourself. Being different and an individual is something to celebrate. As the great Dr. Suess once said, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." Remember that quote the next time someone tries to bring you down, and remember that no one becomes successful or genuinely happy in life by trying to copy someone else or by being average.

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