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Don’t Bother Trying to Please Everyone With Your Writing

As a writer, what you produce isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

This is true of fiction writers and nonfiction writers, business bloggers and business essayists… and essentially any other type of writer out there.

It’s just the way that writing works.

You’ll have one reader or client who is utterly enamored with you. In his or her mind, you can do no wrong. Yet another one thinks you’re the very opposite: boring, inaccurate, choppy, nonsensical, too personable, too straight-laced, longwinded, not winded enough…

There are a whole list of negative descriptions they might pin on you.

And, to some degree, you’re going to have to be okay with those. Because that’s never going to completely change.

Whenever you publish your writing, you’re setting yourself up for criticism and critique. There’s an automatic correlation there: a one plus one equals two kind of equation.

This makes it a big deal – just like any and every other kind of publicly broadcasted effort you could possibly try your hand at.

Painters who display their art are going to find those who love what they did and those who hate it.

Architects who unveil their buildings are going to find those who love what they did and those who hate it.

And scientists who circulate their theories are going to find those who – you’ve no doubt guessed it already – love what they did and those who hate it.

That’s just the way the world works with its myriad of personalities, perspectives and opinions. Honestly, it’s even the way it’s supposed to work. Otherwise, we’d no doubt get humongous egos and become utterly insufferable.

More so than we already are, anyway.

The potential for failure – for someone to say “meh” or worse to what we worked so hard to put out there – keeps us humble. And humility keeps us considering how we can make ourselves better.

Humility, as we’ve already acknowledged, is a good thing. Which rather makes criticism a good thing as well.

However, we need to know what to do with both. Otherwise, just like any and every other kind of good thing, we can make a mess out of them.

Here’s how to avoid doing that…

As the title of this piece advises, don’t bother trying to please everyone with your writing. It’s not going to work, and you’re just going to exhaust yourself in the effort.

There’s a major difference between taking criticism and critiques into consideration, and accepting it all. We should rarely ever take every single bit of feedback we get, whether positive or negative. That’s for a few different reasons, actually.

  1. People are oftentimes wrong. There’s nothing more to it than that.

  2. People can have differing opinions that boil down to personal preference. It’s not a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong, but who’s into chocolate and who’s into vanilla.

  3. People don’t always understand the big picture. Perhaps they’re right about a little detail, but by taking their advice and changing that little detail, you would alter the whole canvas you’re trying to create. (In which case, finding another way to fix the problem is often the best solution.)

Ultimately, it’s up to us to evaluate each reaction we get to what we write, and then decide whether it’s worth taking or not… always accepting three more things while we do:

It’s our writing, so it’s our final call.

It’s never going to be perfect because we’re never going to be perfect. (Remember: Humility = Good.)

And even if we did manage to be perfect, we wouldn’t have a prayer of pleasing everyone anyway. So why bother trying at all.

Just try to be humble instead.

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