I recently came across an online post that ripped apart an article I wrote about Second Life as a promotional tool and some Second Life news I included. As with any criticism, it stings at first. I’ve been writing many years and this only happens occasionally. However, I learned early in my writing career that you should take a deep breath and then go back and read the criticism, rejection letter, bad review, or whatever it is with fresh eyes. There is almost always something you can learn from the criticism. My goal is to try to continue to grow and improve constantly as a writer and as a human being, so feedback of any type is priceless to me.
Second Life News
In this case, I realized that while I was being misquoted and things taken out of context quite a bit about my Second Life article and the points I was making, I could make some of my sentences just a bit clearer to make sure I clarified to the reader exactly what I was saying. I was taken to task for quoting a number of users on Second Life. This person’s argument was that there weren’t that many “active” users. Of course, I’d never said that there were, but the criticism allowed me to realize that perhaps readers would be a bit confused (or at least one reader) between registered users and active users and I was able to go back and add a line about how many “active” users there are and also that of course not every active user is going to participate in something. I assumed this would be common sense and understood, but when you assume that as a writer, you sometimes miss the mark.
This actually improved my article (which you can read here), and I love to grow and improve as I go along. I still believe that Second Life can be a valuable tool when you’re looking for unique ways to promote yourself and I stand by that and the recent Second Life news I’ve read. Is it perfect? Will people flock to your event? Is anything perfect? Does anyone flock anymore?
The goal is to reach a new audience and while it will take some of your time, it is worth trying, especially for those wanting to reach specific demographics. Author Karen Kay held an event on Second Life where she interacted with others and she was quite happy with how it turned out. Is this something you can necessarily measure in cold, hard sales numbers? Of course not. Anyone who markets knows that you get 20% return on 80% of your effort (or so) and unless you are using landing pages and A/B testing for specific advertisers, you may never know what is working best. You try things. You reach new people. It builds over time. In the article, I am simply offering another idea you can try out at some point should you wish to.
Will I link to that other negative post or comment on that blog? I decided not and I ask you not to and here is why…
I don’t waste my time on negative energy and people who want to tear others down. Instead, I try to let it inspire me a bit and thus the inspiration for this topic. Had the writer of that article dug a bit deeper in the type of writing I do, he would have realized that I try to come up with unique ways to help people on a budget promote their businesses. I am not a gamer. Although I have played in virtual 3D worlds, including Second Life, that wasn’t the point of the article. I’ve never claimed to be a gamer. That wasn’t the point of my article at all.
Will every single idea work for every single person? Of course not. Does that mean I don’t have a clue? Of course not. I have done my research. I have interviewed others who’ve tried things, and I test things myself. I’m one of those millions (somewhere between 20-36 million) of registered users and have tried the platform. Have I learned something from the criticism? Yes, I did. I learned where I could better clarify what I was saying, so that is a positive spin on a negative post. So, thank you for the feedback and allowing me to improve my clarity on that point.
Finding Encouragement in Negative Second Life Posts and Other Rejections
I think Dave Willis said it best when he said:
“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”
If you are holding a nasty rejection letter in your hand, keep going back to Amazon to read that negative review, have had someone tell you you’ll never succeed, I want you to know that you can and will succeed. Take a step back and look at what is being said with impartial eyes.
Is there any merit to the criticism? In my case, I did believe I could be clearer on number of active users, but I still stand behind the overall article. If you can learn anything from the criticism you have in your hand (or on the computer screen), study it, apply it and move on.
I have heard of writers papering their office walls with rejection letters, then framing their book covers and placing them on the walls on top of the rejection letters. If you put yourself out there, you’re going to experience rejection. Study it, learn from it, don’t take it to heart and move on.
If you are writing books that people take the time to comment on, writing articles that posts are written about, then you can be sure that you’re either getting a lot of traffic or selling a lot of product/service. That means you should rejoice in the critics. They mean you are succeeding. No one criticizes you if you aren’t putting yourself out there. Yes, you can always learn and grow. No, you aren’t a failure. It does not define you as a person or even as a writer or business owner.
Have you had to deal with a nasty rejection or negative comments? Share your thoughts below.