Facing criticism and cynicism is something that anyone on a creative endeavor will have to deal with on a constant basis. I know I’ve dealt with a lot of it for my other projects and even for this blog, new as it may be. It is something that you’ll be facing if you’re doing something worth doing.
Teddy Roosevelt said it best:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly”
When you’re following your pasion, when you are daring to make something on your own you can bet your ass that people will be not only critizicing you but ridiculing you. My take on it is that when you get critiziced or ridiculed that’s a day to celebrate. That’s a clear sing that you’re reaching people, that they care enough about what you’re doing that they’ll come out and talk about you, even in a negative light.
It might even be the case that your first critics will be either family or friends trying to get you back into your senses or get your feet on the ground, etc. They’ll imply you’re crazy (which you are, but that’s ok), that you’ll never make it, that there’s already dozens of other people or companies doing what you want to do. Believe it or not they are actually saying this out of honest concern, but they are also saying it out of fear. So how should you cope with all this negativity? Here’s a few points which should help you overcome it.
Understand Your Critics
Unless the criticism you’re getting is evidently constructive there’s really only one reason for criticism: fear.
Critics are trying to put you down because you’re trying to upset the status quo and that is scary. Critics are trying to put you down because you are doing something they want to but dont dare to do, and that’s scary. Critics are trying to put you down because you are proving that anyone is able to control their own destiny, and that’s scary as hell.
That last one is specially true for those close to you, they feel your projects and adventures as you leaving them behind and that can scare the living crap out of anyone.
Get Wiser From It
All criticism is reactionary, it’s happening because you did something. It’s Newtonian. Take a minute to see why it happened, there’s always wisdom to be gained out of critics. I’m not saying that you should find out how to please all your critics, not at all! I’m saying that the reason people are taking enough note to criticize you might not be evident to you and yet it may be something that you’re doing right! Don’t just try and replicate what evidently pleases your core audience, what’s pissing off your detractors might just be another of your strengths.
In The End, Haters Gonna Hate
When you are doing something right and you are staying true to your pasions you will never please everyone and that’s a good thing. When you try and please everyone you quickly go down the path of blandness and mediocrity. You and whatever you do are not meant for everyone, don’t focus on the wrong crowd of critics, haters and cynics, focus on your core audience. Realize that as your audience grows so will that small percentage of people who hate your guts. It’s as much a measure of your success as anything else.
As the meme goes, haters gonna hate. You just gotta keep moving on.