i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Someone didn’t like what I wrote and I didn’t die

Someone said my writing was stupid and I didn't die.

  To live a creative life we must first lose the fear of being wrong.
Joseph Chilron Pearce

This week I received my most helpful comment on my writing, “This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.”

There it was. And I didn’t die. I survived. The fear of someone not liking my writing is now gone. I am eternally grateful someone took the time to tell me how stupid they thought my writing was.

I just read the above paragraph to my husband.

He said, “Don’t take this the wrong way. You’ve come a long way. Five years ago that would have really bothered you.”

Last year I would have been bothered by the negative comment. My first blog post on January 1st, 2012, was tentative. I hesitated to write what I thought in case someone disagreed with me. My desire to seek approval meant I didn’t have an opinion. In the desire to please everyone, I pleased no one. I didn’t have a personality because I was afraid to offend.

Last October I signed up for an on-line writing course, Tribe Writers, taught by Jeff Goins, an author and popular writing blogger.

The eight week course on writing, publishing and building an audience, helped me develop confidence  in my writing.

The class is opening again.

If you are interested you can sign up here to be notified when the Tribe Writer course opens.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? 

I am writing a book, called “The Artist’s Manifesto.” It will be free when you subscribe to my blog.

If you subscribe I will send you the book when it is finished. Just finishing up the illustrations now. September 1st is the Publication date. If I don’t give myself deadlines, the dishes would never get washed, and my book would never get written.

P.S. I am an affiliate for this course. The course won’t cost you any more if you sign up through my affiliate link. The money Mr. Goins pays me will help pay for kitty litter. I have four cats and seven litter boxes.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • writesnowydaywrite

    I think you are finding your voice through writing. That is important. Important enough to risk someone’s disapproval. You found it is okay and you can endure that. What a powerful lesson from a comment that might have been sent to discourage you. (this is Kim from writekimwrite but Discus has me when my cat wrote to your cat and I am not sure how to fix at the moment so posting anyway:)

  • It must’ve made some kind impact if he took all the trouble to write it. Anyway, maybe I should write meaner comments if that’ll help you. lol

    • Josh, you are funny. And very kind to offer to write a mean comment if that would help me. I think I am good for now. Thank you for your kind offer.

  • I think you are courageous even to share this post, Pamela. I’m not sure I think anyone should say something like that, but at least be more constructive about it. They are free to disagree, but… Good for you for dismissing it.

    • I don’t know why I didn’t get upset by the comment. It was actually refreshing to have someone really not like what I wrote.
      I had been so afraid to offend, and now that someone didn’t like a story, and I didn’t actually die, I can keep on writing.

  • Iya Hannum

    Brilliant, Pamela, I was wondering how you would respond. I agree with your husband 100%- you have come a very, very long way in the last few years. You is good. You is smart. You is important. Turnabout is fair play.

    • Oh Iya, you is too. Yes, turnabout is fair play. Thank you.

  • Judy Curtiss

    I think we all fear those negative comments, but isn’t that how we grow in our writing. We each of our own opinions and need to decide if we share them with positive or negative. Keep writing and sharing. 7 litter boxes??? I hated one litter box.

    • The cats don’t fight as they have so many places to go to the bathroom. I have small ones in each of the kids bedrooms in case a cat gets locked in one of the rooms.
      Thank you Judy for your comments. Growing in our writing by sharing and listening.

  • Nancy Hatcher

    Yep, I really don’t like that word it sounds worse than a swear word. I’m glad you took it in stride. I don’t think I’m there yet. XO

  • nlazaris

    Great post Pamela! Just last year I received my first negative review of one of my books and instead of remembering all the positives reviews and people who the book helped I was ready in an instant to stop writing!! Amazing how we listen to that critical voice in our heads in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

    • Oh dear, just one comment in the ocean of many positive ones to make you think of not writing. I don’t know why the negative voice in our head is so loud. I would love to know what book you wrote.

  • Lucie

    Darn, why can’t I remember now that great comeback from Jon Acuff about online haters….

    • I don’t mind online haters. Not anymore. It is refreshing to think someone hated it enough to comment. If you think of what Jon Acuff would say. Please tell me.

  • kathunsworth

    Pamela this was a great post, to remind us, not everyone will enjoy what we do or say. Well done for a really helpful honest post. Thanks

  • Laura LA

    So, hardly constructive criticism (unless there’s more you didn’t share).
    Yeah, I’m still tentative in sharing. I’ve been making great strides in the confidence department. I’m pretty sure I’ve received the same criticism, just not so I could hear it I keep writing, nonetheless. Thanks for doing the same.
    Off I go to write now . . .

    • Writing to write, regardless of what others think. Very liberating.

  • Stacey Shubitz

    It’s hard to receive negative feedback, rather than constructive criticism. I often wonder if people would say things like “this is stupid” to another person’s face. It’s easy to hide behind a computer and dole out comments like that. BUT, good for you for moving on and taking it in stride, Pamela.

    • Yes, I wonder if people would be so quick to comment if it was to the writers face. Thank you Stacey. Just striding along.

  • troy mc laughlin

    It’s ok to feel bad if someone leaves negative or bad comments. Seth Godin doesn’t even take comments because of this. The important thing is we press through write well and share our art with others and let the words fall where they may. Also not to let the critical words paralyze us. Thanks Pamela for this post.

    • You are very welcome Troy. Good point about not letting critical words paralyze us.

  • Robn Patrick

    Four cats and seven litter boxes?! One litter box per day of the week? I think that’s a whole blog post by itself.

    I too fear negative feedback, but my brain knows I need to hear it if I want to get better and/or know my readers. My heart though, still freaks out just thinking about it.

    • Great idea Robin. Perhaps Pooh should write about the litter boxes. He is after all a cat. I just have to clean them. He has to share them with three other cats.

      Fearing negative feedback is so normal. We all want to be liked. The tricky part is when we fear rejection and never create. Just think of all the paintings that never will be painted and the songs that will never be sung because the artist’s were afraid.

  • I love it when we see growth in ourselves. Glad you didn’t die with that critique.

  • I was afraid to offend. That’s me = Ms. Switzerland. Again, thank you.

  • Love this post. I once had the same fear you did. It’s nearly gone now. However, I’ve not received a negative comment yet (which makes me think sometimes I’m doing something wrong). Maybe that is to come for me. Thanks for sharing so honestly.