Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Aristotle said...

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Why is it, then, that we try to fly under the radar of potential censure so stringently that we never accomplish the things we are driven to do?

Last week I received an e-mail about the ongoing Story-Time Tuesday on my blog. At first I was annoyed and even hurt that someone hated my writing so much that they chose to e-mail me privately to tell me that I am taking up space in 'blogland' with a story that no-one cares about. I was puzzled. Who was this person? I visited her blog and it seemed pretty normal, not the lair of a she-devil as I imagined. In her profile she said she was a writer which perhaps explained her dismissal of my story, Writing Fiction. But I really pondered why someone would even take the time to write something so mean. I'm all about constructive criticism but what was the point in that e-mail, really? In the end I just had to laugh at how ludicrous the whole thing was to begin with. And to not post the comment I was at first tempted to leave.

I think I ended up the humorous conclusion because even if no-one reads Story-Time Tuesday, I would still post it. For me, it is a discipline...and act of completing something every week against a self-imposed deadline of word counts.

I have no illusions that what I write is the next War and Peace, but I will continue to write regardless.

Why? Because I want to. Because I have to. Because if I don't I fear I might become one of those bitter people criticizing other people's words and ideas because I am too frightened to attempt it myself.

I recognized long ago that I will never please all the people all the time...but I can please myself most of the time if I don't clutter my head with other people's proclamations of my short-comings.

'Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another,' Walter Elliott wrote.

I don't know if my race will ever lead me anywhere, but I will continue to race against myself until I cannot.

And I hope you do, too.

If fear of criticism is what is stopping you from writing your words, painting your portraits, chasing your dreams consider this quote by Lucretius...

'The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.'

Be a drop of rain.

Be a slow and steady force for your own dreams...

drip, drip, drip...

...or not.

But do not abandon what you are driven to do in the vain attempt to avoid critical words or actions from others.



I can live with myself at the end of the day if I fail. But not if it is because I have not tried.

And that, my friends, is the end of this extremely deep thoughts kind of post!



OK, I lied. I have one more thing to say. Really, I'm not dangling a hook here so you'll bite and say "Oh, I like your writing!" I like my writing and I'm not looking for validation. It's just that I just see so many of us apologizing for what we do, and who we are, and what we are driven to do. I refuse to do that anymore! So there!

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J. Kwiatkowski said...

Very wise words! I am a critical reader, and I do not find any fault with your prose. We have picked up several books of new authors in the horror genre that are waaaaaay worse and thoughtlessly written- and yet, still published.

Terry said...

I can be a drip with you!! I can do that! LOL Sorry someone said that to you. They have the right to their opinion, but they also have the right to go on their way and not waste their time reading your blog if they don't like it. I personally do like it. You're very creative so keep on dripping! LOL

La said...

Some people are inable to feel good about themselves unless they are tearing someone else down. The problem is hers not yours.

When I was younger I tried to please others. Now, I'm too damned old to care. I am kind and considerate of others, but I do not cater to them.

I'm comfortable with who I am and I think you are too. Keep on keeping on, Jenny. La

mle said...

I'm sorry you encountered such an unkind person, Jenny! Seems to me that this is your little corner of blogland & you can fill it with whatever you please!! And if it pleases no one but yourself then so be it {that wouldn't be true btw}. So, keep on keepin' on, Sisterfriend!!
ps I'm a drip, too : )

Deb said...

nice post Jenny...I enjoy your posts...I understand how your feelings could have been hurt...I don't really understand why the person felt the need to write a comment like that...last year in November I was sharing family each day...I had a person leave a comment...I like to stick with tried and true hurt my feelings...I started to not post anymore recipes...then I realized she was only one comment...what did I care if she didn't enjoy my recipes...and really why would she bother to comment on it...she must have beeen having a bad day...or it came out different on paper than what was in her head...Keep on writing...and we will keep on reading...

Terra said...

Well Said Jenny. I don't have to how I feel about your writing and about you because you already know. And I don't have to tell you that their will always be someone out there trying to drag us down, but rather pushing us to be stronger. I also don't have to tell you that nay-sayers can go jump in a lake because you don't have to care what they say. In fact I don't even need to tell you that how you feel about what you do is more important than what any of the rest of say. Because, I don't have to tell you that you are a smart, beautiful, caring, talented woman that touches so many lives on a daily basis, I will just say I am blessed to have you in my life.

Ames said...

This blogger had two choices. Read it, like it, and leave a positive comment. Or read it, dislike it, and take the high road and don't leave a comment at all. You see what road she chose to take.

Blogs are just like watching televison, in my opinion. If you don't like what you are watching you can always change the channel.

Be like a duck in water, let it roll off your back Jenny. Hugs! ~Ames

Wanda..... said...

Surely this commentor was new to your blog and just in a bad mood, Jenny!

I'm captivated by your writing, wit, humor, imagination and originality.'re sweet, never caustic.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

"I just see so many of us apologizing for what we do, and who we are, and what we are driven to do. I refuse to do that anymore! So there!"

PLEASE do a whole post, expanding your wise words above. They are so true. We do apologize so much! In one way or another. DAng-it! Why? Why are we driven to this? Even when we feel pretty liberated. :-(

You keep right on with your writing, HON! If anyone doesn't want to read it, that's their choice. If anyone doesn't want to or can't participate in your writing challenges [or whatever the right word is], then they don't have to do so.

But please, no blogger has a right to tell another blogger that they are taking up space in "Pretty Blog Land," with this or that. Yikes!

I don't like to buy stuff, so I am not thrilled with blogs which are always selling their stuff. Fine. I don't have to read 'em, or buy it or etc. But I don't have the "right" to tell them to stop trying to sell, on their blogs.

Isn't that somehow like telling you that your writing is taking up space?

Btw, Vee ["A Haven For Vee" blog] and I have been doing our "What We Don't Like About Blogs" thing. :-) Guess in the end, we need to just state our feelings, and stop going to blogs-which-bug-us. :-)

But... I still think that each of us should have the right to say how we will be doing our blog-following. And not just have to steal-silently-away as it were. I don't care for that approach either.

ENOUGH!!!!!!!!! -giggles- Ahhhh do tend to run-offffff-at-the-mouth, don't ahhhhhhhhhhhh? Eeeek!

Gentle hugs...

Jeanie said...

What? The person thought you'd stop doing what you do on their say so?
Give me a break.
Shake it off (which it sound like you have done) and keep on keepin' on, Jenny.

Mighty M said...

Huh? Why would ANYONE do that??? Our blog, OUR space. You don't like it, DON'T read it. Jeesh. Seems pretty easy to me. Keep the faith - your rock. And I for one LOVE your story!

My name is PJ. said...

Where I come from, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Someone felt compelled to be ill-manner and ugly. That speaks only about them as people - not you and certainly not your writing.

Too many so-called writers think their intellectual and above it all. It allows them to become dismissive and/or critical. Again, this speaks only about them as people.

Perhaps she was bleeding from her uterus? Perhaps her child told her "I hate you!"? Perhaps her husband is having an affair with a kinder, more well-mannered woman. Perhaps she had just received the 650th rejection letter from a publisher? Maybe all of the above. Yeah. To be that ugly, it would have had to have been all of the above.

And, for the record, you write better and with more depth and breadth about real life than anyone I know. And that's the truth. And I'm a huge bibliophile and know many people.

So there, ugly, ill-mannered emailer!! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Viki said...

"What other people think of you is none of your business" by Regina Brett. Words to live by I think.

Busy Bee Suz said...

How dare she...let me at her Jenny!!!
I love that you do what YOU do...and not to please others.
I heart you Jenny!

Susannah said...

People like that say so much more about themselves than they do about the object of their derision.

So glad that you are strong enough to realise that whatever that comment was, it had absolutely nothing to do with you.

Someone's 'buttons' obviously got pressed by your writing.


Amy said...

What nerve! Do I need to go break some legs? You just say the word Jenny! Love you!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karena said...


I remember a curator once telling me " we compromise so much in life, do not compromise on your art." In other words we must folow our passions and yes, there will always be critics, some not so nice!

Art by Karena

{ L } said...

Jenny, this post was awesome!! It is by far the best response to criticism I've read before. You are so smart and wise. My favorite thing you said is:
"I think I ended up the humorous conclusion because even if no-one reads Story-Time Tuesday, I would still post it. For me, it is a discipline...and act of completing something every week against a self-imposed deadline of word counts."

Love that! And I admire YOU.

Pondside said...

That wasn't criticism, Jenny - it was just meanness, or venting or frustration or envy or a reflection of the writer's insecurity. Take your pick - but it wasn't a reflection on or critique of your writing. We all blog for our own reasons - and we all read blogs for many different reasons. Rudeness has no place here in the blog world or out on the pavement. I hope you didn't let the writer get you down at all - keep on doing what you do because you enjoy it, and so do your many readers.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Jenny--Sheesh! I wonder where her manners were? I can't imagine having the audacity to send a complete stranger an email telling them that you didn't like their blog post. Why would you? If you don't care for a blog...move on! There is no need to be mean about it. Kudos to you for not sharing this persons name with us.

Thank you for sharing the experience with us. Not all of us could have done that.


Jennifer said...

I really needed this, Jenny.

Lately, I have been so down about newspaper I've considered quitting. But I realized it wasn't because I didn't have the drive for it, it's just because I'm having a rough time with it.

I do love journalism. I've put so much into it that I can't take back and wouldn't want to take back. I may not always do my best or get the recognition I used to get in high school, but that was to be expected going into this anyway, and I've let myself fall to a few setbacks. But like you, I have the drive, and I'm not gonna' let it bring me down.

Thanks, Jenny. :)

Jocelyn said...

Good For You!!! I enjoy spending my Tuesday mornings with just keep on writing the Hell with that woman!!!! Oops....I sound a bit snarky...but hey....let her choose to move on and not read it...all you have to do is push a button and she can go on to the next blog!!

Misery loves let's not be friends with her!!!! BLEH!!!!!!!!!!

Love ya girlie and love your attitude...keep on writing and making us smile! My world is a better place with you in it!!!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jenny it continues to amaze me how some people feel it is their right to tell others what to do. Keep writing and doing your thing!!!

Tracy said...

I am really bad at commenting but I do read and I love what you write . If I did not I certaainly would not write a horrid email . Sorry that somebody in this world has been unkind

Judie said...

I have had one smart-ass comment on one of my posts. The writer didn't leave a name, but it didn't take rocket science for me to figure out who had written it. Knowing who had written the comment encouraged me to write a post about self-absorbed people, and how others deal with them.
My "D" post for tomorrow describes another aspect of this person's personality. I will get my digs in wherever I can. Do I feel bad about it? Not on your life!

Cheryl D. said...

You know you've arrived when you get non-constructive criticism. When someone posts a mean comment out of nowhere, that is actually a good thing. Hurtful? Maybe. But it shows that someone is envious of your success!

Enjoy the hate!

Sue said...

I think your ever-growing-larger-and-larger list of followers speaks for itself, Jenny. We don't come here for the music; we come for the writing!

I wonder how many followers your less than lovely "critic" has?

(Maybe we should add jealousy to PJ's list of explanations for this woman's behavior...)


PS. I would venture to guess that the only reason this self-proclaimed "writer" e-mailed you privately is because she knew she'd be flamed by your readers, even if she posted anonymously. Sounds like she can dish it out but not take it.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...


I think as women we were programmed at a young age to try and please. Times have changed and hopefully young girls growing up today aren't made to feel that way anymore.'s your blog. I've seen some pretty outrageous ones out there from time to time, but no one forces me to go back. If I don't like something I leave.

Mary said...

"But do not abandon what you are driven to do in the vain attempt to avoid critical words or actions from others." ~Amen!

I recently had someone "share" with me that a recent post had too many photos, and I thought, who forced you to look at it? Now quietly go away... :-)

Aging Mommy said...

Well this lady whoever she is clearly has nothing better to do with her time, what a waste of effort and emotion and life, being so inclined as to send you an email about your writing as she did. Just be thankful you are not like her is all I can think to say.

I agree, I am all about constructive criticism too, but rubbishing what someone does serves no purpose other than to hurt if the recipient is that way inclined. I am glad you chose not to be so inclined.

Anna said...

Dear Jenny,
I was on my way to post my D-post and just happened to read this.
I am so sorry to hear that you have met up with a meany. I wanted to follow your Story-Time Tuesday too. But I just don't have the time. I don't really have time to write the SC-challenge either, but since it is on a Saturday, I have been able to do it (and I love it). In fact, I like all of your themes and memes and stories. And you have a sense of humour too! What more can a writer-wannabe like me ask for?
I think you are an amazing and talented woman.

My very best wishes,

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Are you kidding me? In my opinion, this is one of those "get a life" things. How dare someone be so rude.

You may (or may not) have noticed that while I try to read all of your posts...I haven't gotten started in the Story Time Tuesday or your husband's posts. It isn't personal, I've read your fiction and I loved it...I just can't concentrate on reading "real stuff" on a blog. I have another blog friend that writes fiction and I skip those posts of his as well, it just isn't the format for my fiction reading. However, if I read it and didn't like it...I would just not read it again. I don't think we actually have limited space out here in Blogland. There are blogs that are about topics that I can't believe. I actually stumbled on a blog where someone was documenting their acne treatment. It was post after post of zit pictures...needless to say, I didn't go back.

Reading a blog is a choice. None of us are forced to read anything we don't want to. I really try to focus on the fact that someone must have a miserable life if they choose to spend it attacking others.

Jo said...

Aha!!! you met a QueenB and she tried to take you down ... sadly there are just way too many wannabe QueenB's out there ... driven by some insane need to elevate themselves by tearing someone down ... These are the girls who's personal growth stopped at the age of 15 ... they never did bother to explore their real self, confront their real insecurities and work on them ... they have not need to rise above because they are the Queen ... just watch reality tv and you can seem them hard at work, scheming, screaming, and just being plain old nasty, which is the only thing they have to offer in this world.

"It's just that I just see so many of us apologizing for what we do, and who we are, and what we are driven to do." I understand you so well ... i i do this all the time as well .... and often wonder why i take up space in blogland ... but it is what i love to do ... and I am thankful that this is what you love to do as well ... i have been a Jenny fan since you first found my little blog ... I don't always comment ... but i do love to see what you are up to be it real life or fiction ...

and of the people that have commented so far, i have met most through your blog ... and some of them i just adore ... you get us thinking, and writing, and sharing ... You Rock!!! and i bet that just kills your QueenB

laterg8r said...

my mom (and thumper) say, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!"

clearly she never learned this lesson!

Willoughby said...

I have no patience with people like that! Why would someone go out of their way to insult a stranger? It makes me angry. I know you weren't fishing for compliments, but I happen to enjoy your writing very much!!

Coincidentally, earlier in the week, I posted a blog about the growing amount of intolerance in our society. I was inspired by several tragic news stories about bullying.

Keep on doing what you love!!

myletterstoemily said...

well, i just want to say that "i like your
writing!" no seriously.

what a mean, and by mean, i mean
small thing to do. if you allow me a
mean comment, that person must not
have any followers.

the fun is in the venturing!

i'm steaming about this.

Pat Tillett said...

Just another stupid earthling who needs to get a life!

Sami said...

Madam Jenny -

I haven't commented in a while (although I still visit often!) but I just wanted to say *hi!*, and that I think you're awesome just as you are. :) Never stop being awesome, no matter what other people have to say. Take that, naysayers!


Stef said...

I don't really get why there are people who go through life looking to tear others down. What a sad life. Really.
Plus I love your outlook. Write for yourself. That is the ONLY reason I blog. Because it fulfills something for me. Plus, I feel like I am contributing to those who appreciate it.
PLUS yours is such a great place to encourage others to develop and push themselves. I love it!
Phoew on them!!

cj Schlottman said...


this woman is, above all things, a coward. if she had spewed her venom in a comment, the rest of us would have visited her blog, as you did, to try to figure out just what is wrong with her. we may have left her a comment or two. there is no room in writing for cowards. we are people of courage and honesty.

i'm dripping with you, and for the record, i admire no only your writing but your selfless willingness to carry us along on your wonderful ride.


The Words Crafter said...

*standing ovation here* Why do people have to be mean? If you don't like something someone says, or how they say what they're saying, don't comment. Better yet, don't read!

I'm very impressed at your response. You go girl! And keep on writing. I haven't been around the blogverse too much this week-busy, but I am one who does love what you write. And I'm honest enough to tell you that I'm selfish enough to want you to keep on writing!

Marlene said...

Who died and made her blog queen, anyway? Since when does anyone have the right to chastize another human being for "taking up blog space". Huh? RIDONKULOUS!

Lourie said...

Well that is just wrong. But I sure love your attitude lady! The only space you would waste is if you didn't write at all! Now that would be a waste. Keep it coming!

Pixie said...

Ha everyone already beat me to the good comments...but yah, what everyone else said LOL especially thumper....have always held to " if you don't have something nice to say..." Too bad not everyone else has the manners of a cartoon bunny

Gattina said...

It's not even worthwhile to react on such emails. I push the button : delete, and that's it !

Cheryl said...

The one thing I can appreciate about this is the fact that she chose to send an email rather than post a comment.

What others think about you (or your writing) is theirs to own, not yours. High road do you hear Jenny calling?

Amy said...

"I like your writing."
All joking aside, I really do, and I love that you try to please yourself all the time instead of focusing on pleasing the masses who are sometimes just out there to pull us down or trip us up go you! Also, you are so right about people apologizing for who they are and what they do (ME!) People need to be proud of who they are and love themselves enough to accept themselves. Amen!

Jessica B said...

Jenny, it made me sad to read that someone hurt your feelings by being so rude and critical of something that makes you happy.

I always tell my kids that we should feel sorry for people who feel the need to tear others down. Their lives must be pretty sad if it makes them feel big by trying to make others feel small. The best way to respond to that stuff is to not respond at all. Half of it is about goading you into a fight anyway.

Shake it off and keep on doing what you do. I personally love your blog, and really enjoy your writing. Based on the amount of readers and commenters you have, I know for a fact that I am not the only one who feels that way.