Welcome to my adventures and experiments in creativity. Where writing is like running: sometimes I know where I'm going, and sometimes I see where the mood takes me.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

You Can't Please All Of The People All Of The Time

It’s an ignorant individual who criticises successful people but doesn’t see the irony of achieving nothing themselves. Such was the quandary with yesterday’s post about books – where does a genuine opinion end and mindless bitching start? It’s not like the intention was to offend by writing it; rather, to give context to a new found enjoyment of another author.

An over-reaction this may well be, but the reason for the question is to wonder what right I have to say that I don’t like someone’s novel, or even their entire catalogue of work. Writing is fun, personally; a pleasure, and particularly satisfying is having people read and enjoy it. In the grand scheme of things though, I don’t have a readership. Given time and continued effort that might change, but ten or twenty people looking at this blog aren’t going to wield much influence.

So how would I feel if someone started shouting about disliking a piece of my work? More to the point, how different would the answer to that question be if I earned a few quid from the same writing? Do several-million book sales dilute the criticism of a few particularly vocal detractors? It might be a while before I find that out…

In order to demonstrate that self-awareness and humility have not been forgotten here, and to coincide with the fact that Ben Folds is touring the UK next week, allow me to quote from Working Day, the opening track of his recent album Lonely Avenue (a collaboration with Nick Hornby). Reciting the whole song would not be inappropriate, but let’s stick to just the one line:

“Some guy on the net thinks I suck, and he should know – he’s got his own blog.”

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