“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
As my paternal leave nears its close, I’ve spent an unspecified amount of time this week trying to tie up loose ends and take care of home projects, particularly as they pertain to this blog. I know I’ll have less time to do so soon enough. So this week I’ve been focusing on promoting the blog and exploring new avenues through social media to get my work out. In the process, that’s also come to mean standing behind my work in defense of it.
I can’t be the best writer around but I can be the hardest working. Getting what I’ve written out there this week involved delving into the deep, dark depths of StumbleUpon, Creators.co, Google+, Christian Mingle, and the dreaded Reddit.
Almost everyone I know is uniquely intimidated by Reddit. The people I know who say they aren’t are themselves uniquely intimidating. Reddit is the place where little bunnies hop in and come back out savage inaccuracy-sniffers. The dedication and talent of these Redditeers is a wonder and a terror to behold for those of us who put a lot of time and effort into our blog posts. We don’t necessarily want to see our words so easily torn down by a curtly phrased comment.
But what is essentially the internet’s boogeyman is also home to millions of readers of all kinds. Tapping into Reddit would be of great value. Further, finding a place in Reddit and braving its tempestuous waters would be exemplary of the biggest battle to be fought as a writer: facing criticism head on, courageously. I’ve written in the past on how best to accept criticism but here we’re talking about actively going out to seek it.
At this point in my blogging journey, it seems to be that growth and exposing myself to more criticism have come to blows. I can’t just stay here at WordPress where I agree with everyone, for the most part. I can’t foreseeably take this blog to new heights if I can’t look fear in the eye and say “Come at me, mon frere.” I’ve already experienced new traffic, some great feedback and some decent criticism, and yes some rudeness also. These are human beings, at the end of the day. Where this would’ve crushed me or made my blood boil a year ago, now I’m able to take it with greater ease and even reply in characteristic tongue-in-cheek fashion.
Surrounding myself with pretty words about confidence and having to impress only myself is only a hollow sliver of this journey. If we as writers are to build a sturdy shell then we have to be confident in our writing, stand in front of it and behind it, and make no apologies for our opinions. Every time you hit that publish button, you’re lighting a candle in a dark cave. “How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” We can be mistaken but not shaken from our resolve, if indeed this is our calling.
Walking on the moon took a first step, my friends.
Come and visit me on Reddit! You might enjoy the fireworks.
-The Well-Red Mage