I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts titled I Is What I Is…. Thank you for that title, Paula Deen. I was going to name the series What I’ve Learned but that seemed so boring and more than a little uppity. These short posts will come whenever something strikes me— no set schedule here. I Is What I Is… will be my attempt to explain, in stories and observations, how I continue to develop my attitude, worldview and the way in which I choose to live. Here is I Is What I Is… #1: Dealing With Critics.
This was written by Ernest Hemingway. In 1935. Written in response to a Russian critic.
When I decided to write my first book for children, Pete the Popcorn, someone remarked to me, “just ignore your critics.”
I couldn’t disagree more. One can never simply ignore their critics. No, we must hear and read our critics. We don’t have to actually listen or change our behavior because of them. But hearing them is fine. Because, and it might be 1 in 100, 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 100,000… but one of them just might have something to say that we can actually work with.
The way I handle critics is this: listen and read what they have to say. But rarely respond. And, if you really must respond, shut ’em down. Sort of like what Hemingway has done here. Be kind, inform, entertain, prove yourself to be intelligent… and then move on. But think— really, really think— before you say anything at all.
The very important time you’re taking to draft a response could be better spent attracting another critic.
Oh, and I agree with Mr. Hemingway about the whole drinkin’ thang.
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