Are The Opinions Of Others Stopping You From Writing Your Book?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Are The Opinions Of Others Stopping You From Writing Your Book?Advice For Overcoming Negative Comments
Last August, my book, Conversations with History: Inspiration, Reflections and Advice from History-Makers and Celebrities on the Other Side, was published. As a psychic medium, I channeled interviews with 22 celebrity spirits who were famous (or infamous) during their time on earth.
Coming Out As The Real Me
I was excited but a part of me was apprehensive. What would people say? Being a medium can be controversial enough. But to claim I was channeling Andy Warhol and Gandhi? When I was a lawyer I didn't have to worry about respect, and I knew that by publishing this book, I was coming out as the soul who I really am--all of me.
As I wrote my book I was having so much fun, and was so busy keeping the spirit traffic around me in order, that I pushed my fears away. But two weeks after my book launch, along came my first mean review on Amazon. It wasn't just nasty, it was a very personal attack. It was obvious that the reviewer had a bone to pick with psychics but that didn't help. So I wrote amazon a lawyerly letter demanding (nicely) that it be taken down. Nothing. I stewed. I complained to my friends and family. I couldn't make peace with it. Worse, I couldn't enjoy the many wonderful reviews by people who loved my book and were helped and inspired by it. I was stuck, and I realized that if I wanted to enjoy this journey at all, I needed to make peace with other people's opinions.
What Other People Might Say
At about the same time, women began approaching me for help writing their own books. I started noticing a pattern. Every one of them was concerned about what other people might say about their book and about them personally. The fear was strong enough to prevent many of them from even beginning to write their books--their interesting, important books.
Not knowing how to crack this, I started researching. I read articles with titles like "What to do about a bad review." One article advocated hitting the reviewer with a two-by-four! The author wasn't serious, but it illustrates the painful effects that criticism can have, particularly in an era in which many people lose their manners when faced with a social media comment box.
It's Not You, It's Them. Really
Soon thereafter, the universe delivered two pieces of perspective-shifting information that allowed me to make peace with other people's opinions. First, Dr. Wayne Dyer talked about a conversation he had had with his daughter when she was young. In essence--and I'm paraphrasing here--he explained that nothing could ever come out of an orange but orange juice, illustrating the point that what people say is just what's inside them. As hard as it can be to understand, anything they say about us really isn't about us. It only tells you about them.
My perspective further shifted after I read the fabulous book Playing Big by Tara Mohr. She doesn't advocate ignoring people's feedback--to the contrary, we are social beings and our relationships are important. It feels good when people enjoy what we create. Instead, according to Mohr, feedback can be useful. It reveals something about your audience--their likes and dislikes, what resonates with them or doesn't. Ultimately you may decide to make changes to a book or a product based on feedback or not, depending upon your goals. But the critical piece here is that feedback is not about you personally, or about the quality of your work. Again, it only tells you about them.
So I finally got it. I found that I could even take it one step further--I could appreciate and respect the variety of ways in which people experience my book (or me, or anything else for that matter.)
The World Is Waiting For You
One of the big surprises that came out of my book launch is how much I love encouraging and helping others to write their books*. If you're considering writing a book but are concerned about what other people might think or say, I hope this helps you see this in a new light. Be brave and start writing! What you have to share is important, and know that the right people are waiting to hear it.
*Susan Lander is offering mentoring for those who want to write their books. For more information, please see: http://susanlander.us/events/