December 17, 2011

Comment chaos…

When I first starting reading blogs I noticed that some people turned off their comment section from time to time. Some of the posts were a little ranty, some were amazingly personal and other people just wanted to tell their side of the story.

These last few months have been a giant learning curve for me. Ive started writing, Ive started thinking about myself as someone other than a who I thought I was and Ive started gaining a bit of confidence in the new me.

Last week I wrote my second piece for Mamamia, it was a follow up to the post that pushed me to start my blog. This time however it was a different experience. What I wrote and the way it was received was two different things and some of the comments people made started that inner monologue of ‘should I really be doing this?’.

Its been a busy week in my family…like it has been for most with school aged kids. Last week of Kindergarten for one chicken, last week of Year six for another. A speech night and then a dancing concert for good measure. All of our babes were awarded in some way this week and it was hard to contain the swell you get in your heart when you watch your kids succeed. We didn’t talk much to the kids before the night about awards, they didn’t seem fussed about them so we just went with the flow. Easy to say when you come home with happy kids.

The other thing that happened was my sister finished a major piece of writing work (stick with me here its all about to come together). We celebrated the woohoo moment of pressing send but then the anticipation of what the comments would be when it was sent back.

The three things made me think about feedback and recognition. In working hard there is always some part of you that wants to be rewarded for what you do – some laminated award, some tacky trophy or just a good job that gives you that added boost that it was all worthwhile. What I noticed in sending that piece off to be published was that maybe I wasn’t ready for people to disagree with me, I wasn’t ready to be misunderstood and I wasn’t ready for people to miss the point.

How do you develop thick skin? Do you really want someone to say something as banal ‘thats good’ about your work, or do you want the truth (or some place in between??)

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I think good writing often makes one feel vulnerable in some way. Writers need to push boundaries of what is acceptable, and what is right and wrong. Only in writing do we have the space to look at our lives and question what many people accept as a given, and because of this, I think you’re always going to be stretching that neck out a little further in order to write interesting, engaging and provoking pieces. Yes, people will disagree, but not before having their cage rattled: this is a good thing. Who wants to read “Everything is fine with the world! Go about your business!” Not me. Everything’s not fine, we can always do better.
    And I believe the thick skin comes with practice. I know I’m still working on it. 😉
    Off to read your MM post.

  2. I agree with Karen! Sometimes we need to hear things that make us squirm a little – it challenges us and opens us up to new perspectives. I love reading social commentaries for that reason; some days you agree whole-heartedly with the writer, and others you struggle to tolerate their arrogance, ignorance, or tacklessness (at least that’s what you call it in your mind). Either way, it generally strengthens your outlook and your opinions.
    Reading what others have to say is good for your soul! It reminds me of what my father-in-law says to my girls, “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for the reason that you should listen twice as much as you speak.”
    Loved this weeks lament!!
    And by the way, if you figure out the secret to thick skin, do let me know. I have 2 little friends that are going to need it!!

  3. Great post! You are so right! It’s hard to hear, but the “negative” comments are the ones that help me the most.

  4. I think the problem with writing things for the online world is:

    1. There are a lot of skimmers who don’t read articles properly, and thus miss the point … but will comment anyway
    2. As the writer, you can’t clarify every single point or statement you make – it would make for either a boring piece, or a VERY long piece!
    3. The online world allows for a bit of a pack mentality to develop – ie someone sees that someone else has written something negative and feels empowered to do the same!

    So while I think that it’s educational to have one’s view challenged, or even to receive some negative feedback, usually the people delivering this feedback are not the people you should be listening to!

    • Thank you for putting that so eloquently Kelly. Its hard to write an opinion piece and then hear other peoples opinions…at least my husband knows Im always right!

  5. I struggled with this at first, but I think you have to accept it is part of it and then allow the comments to be something that can challenge and teach you.

    I had one article that went particularly bad. I had many commentators who didn’t quite get what I was trying to say, except I realized that was my fault, as I wasn’t clear enough It was horrible as my words were being taken to mean something I totally did not mean and am against. It is all a lesson and helps you to know what you can do better with next time.

    I’m happy for discussion and differing opinions, however I do not tolerate rudeness within my comments on my blog. I will immediately pull them into line or if it is really abusive, delete the comment. Thankfully I have not had experience of this before.

    • Thanks for the thoughts Caz. I find the blogging world to be really thoughtful and insightful and when you step outside it, its like a dinner party with people you wouldnt choose to sit next to in ‘real’ life.
      My issue was the same as yours – the title was changed which changed the whole perspective and part of me wanted to scream HANG ON but the other part taught me to walk away, chalk it up as experience and keep working on what I believe in.
      Happy new year to your and your gorgeous looking family x


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