I was reading reviews on Amazon of the Hobbit. Tolkien is long gone, but his spirit remains. Generally people love his books. There were 100 bad reviews of the Hobbit – 90% of which were related to the formatting. I saw two who got bored by the book.
Now Tolkien doesn’t care. He really doesn’t. I don’t believe in the afterlife, and I think he lived a grand life anyway.
So why do we care about reviews? Why do we need justification for our actions? Why do we care what other people think?
Because we think we need direction and admiration from others to continue our work. But really, if Tolkien had written the Hobbit for everyone but himself, then it probably wouldn’t have been as good. He was primarily a linguist – hence inventing languages was his forte. Yes the whole adventure, suspense and drama were part of it – but you can see what he loved by reading his books – he loved language.
People and YOU need to do things for yourself first. It’s not worth the time, money, effort, heartbreak, success or any other strange measure we have unless you’re doing it for yourself.
And you will get reviews. And some will be bad. But don’t let that stop you. I once had an article in the Advertiser, which at 7:30am in the morning a person posted on my blog on how wrong I was to believe that SUV’s are in fact necessary I was shocked at first – how could someone say ill of my words! But by the same token, I understood his point, but that didn’t mean I agree with him. And he missed the point entirely anyway – because he was taking what I said out of context.
And people will do that. What you say, what you write, what you do, will be taken out of context, and without it, it’s just something that was done – it has no real tangible way of being compared to anything else. This is the start of so many disagreements, and falsehoods and all matter of things that shouldn’t happen.
And a lot of bad reviews are like that. But then you will get the people who genuinely believe you are wrong. That you are shit. And you have to put up with that. Because otherwise, without critics, you are no one. Everyone has critics. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Bill Clinton, they all have critics. And for good reason. Not everything they did can be put in a good light. But you know they didn’t care. And for the most part they did a damn good job of improving the world, even with critics.
But you could be the other way. You just want feedback on your work – something to tell you you’re on the right path, that this is the way I should go forward. Which in a different world would be a perfectly sound piece of advice if it wasn’t steeped in irony. Yes you do want feedback – but from trusted individuals who know a lot about you – not a stranger on the street.
Let me give you a piece of advice – don’t take advice from anyone at face value. Take it with a grain of salt. No one will tell you a) exactly what you want to hear, or b) what is correct. They will base their advice upon your public persona – how they see you, which can be quite different to who you really are.
I’m not saying drown out everyone else and just listen to yourself – but just make your own decisions and paint your own path.
And if everyone begins to hate you – remember that it doesn’t really matter. Don’t make them hate you more – or do so, if you know the thing that is making them hate you is a just cause.
If you’re not challenging the status quo, you’re basically ok with it. And don’t give me some passive crap. If people start hating you – you must be doing something right.
People hate change, and there are people in this world whose only passion in life is to criticize. So let them, and make them bitter knowing they have done nothing creative that day.
Dead people don’t care about reviews, and neither do most successful people. They live with it. For every fan there is a person who finds something abominable about you.
But don’t let it deter you from doing something great. Life’s too short to worry about people you generally don’t give a crap about.