“Social Entrepreneur, Futurist, Communication Strategist, Author of four books, Mountaineer and a legendary food critic.”
This is how a typical author bio looks like these days. The image in the small circle makes you wonder what would be the age after all these accomplishments. The feeling is claustrophobic sometimes. Mocking my carefully wasted twenty-something years of life.
And it’s not new. I mean the trumpet is new. Not the accomplishments. People are immensely talented. Do you know who Carl Sagan was? He was an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. See that?
And if you read what he wrote, you would know what my point here is. It’s an ecstasy to read his quotes. And who am I? Just a writer. An engineer-turned-writer. A layman. And a legendary schlup.
When I was in class nine, my mom brought hardy boys from her friend who was about to throw away all the collection because her class 6 boy was done reading them. A die-hard Harry Potter fan, I got my own collection on my 23rd birthday and read To kill a mocking bird a month before (the book children read as part of their syllabus in ninth grade)
So, the point is- I am late. And so are you.
So what? Atleast we started.
You will feel good now because according to a survey, 76% of the people are underachievers and they never realize their dreams.
Bullshit. There is no such survey!
So if you have just started writing, you will meet these three kinds of readers on the internet.
I classify them according to the ferocity level they exhibit-
XXXXXX: Extremely Dangerous
XXXX: Kind but moderately unpredictable
The Emotional Reader: (XX)
Who will always appreciate you. Because they appreciate emotions. Because they appreciate efforts. Reading for them is a leisure activity, not necessarily an opportunity to give that cult opinion. They will ‘like-share-comment’ on your every article and be very kind in doing that because they know you need support. And motivation.
Even when your article has only one super attractive line which made sense, they will make sure they will quote it back . Most of them will fall under the category of best friends.
Or humble souls who enjoy reading as it is supposed to be.
The Literary Snob: (XXXX)
Who will always try to derive benefit from your article. Because they value time. Because they are grammar Nazis and emotions matter to them- but it should flow with rules of English grammar. They completed every grammar worksheet with grit and passion. They were born and brought up in that environment.
So, they expect you to a) not digress b) talk sense and not gibberish c) avoid trite opinions d) crisp and clear conclusions.
They will only ‘like-share-comment’ on your article if they found these 4 ticks on the checklist. So, show them how obliged you are to receive their comment.
The serial-critic: (XXXXXX)
Who will never approve of your new-found skills. Now this is a tough one. But I will try to explain. The people who fall in this category are very knowledgeable in every field. They are experts when it comes to talking about politics-share market-scandals-sports-black money-gadgets and every other thing in the world.
They are passionate readers and they love to enter into the intricacies of ‘how things work’. That’s why they can not handle ‘immature’ writing. But here I’ll give my two cents to Richard Bach–
A professional writer is an amateur who never quit.
Criticism is a trap. You can either be buried under it or take it and be a part of metamorphosis. The human tendency to declare other human as naive and ‘unfit to voice an opinion’ is going to stay.
Understand that you won’t be able to stop people in their tracks with your first blog post. The more important things is to grow. The less important thing is to feel sad about less number of likes on your article. And check the views and shares every minute. But yes, less important is also important. Because there is something you are not doing right- and you need to improve that. Find that ‘something’.
Although I have been an emotional reader throughout my life but I recently joined hands with the literary snobs, only occasionally. 🙂
If you are someone like me, an aspiring writer, who feel demotivated at the slightest hint of getting ‘critiqued’ (no hard feelings to my dear readers, I respect your opinions. You make us. You strengthen our roots.) then you should write because you want to write and because you want to express. Not to impress. Fight with the urge of sweating before clicking on the ‘Publish’ button.
I would recommend- sleep on your article. Wake up next morning and give it another read. Do you still like it? Take another two days if you still feel a lump in your throat but make sure you do not let those bullies pry on you.
Dear muffins and cupcakes, please do not forget that the author has spent hours of time, probably days, his heart and his flesh into the story. Your destructive criticism will potentially become a factor for a heartbreak and a loss of motivation. Some people are just too fragile to take that.
I am so sure, many of you will disagree with me on this, but I strongly believe that unless you really disliked it, then it is best to not say anything at all. Or if you still want to be a creative cleric, say it with modesty. Like the ones you hear in office- “You were good. But you can do better.”
And to end it on a positive note, you know what Kurt Vonnegut says?
“We Are What we Pretend to Be; so Be Careful What You Pretend to Be.”
May the force be with you. 🙂