“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...
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!