The day I left my job was the same day I took an even scarier step: I publicly launched my blog.
I had no idea what the response would be. Would my thoughts resonate with people? Ruffle some feathers? Or worse, would my words fall flat, unread by anyone but myself? The thought of no one caring is still far scarier than of getting negative feedback.
What a thrill it was to see my site traffic quickly climb from tens to hundreds, and then to thousands, in its first 24 hours of existence. That debut post, which was born from an ultra vulnerable time in my life, is still the most popular one on my site, to date.
But negative feedback still hurts. It was during my launch week that I felt the sting of scrutiny that anonymous internet critics like to dole out. Two comments came in one day, almost at the same exact time, attacking my choice to leave my desk job and take time out for myself.
One comment, posted by ‘Reality’, reads: I am excited to see how this ends up in 90 days when your employer finds someone who is willing to work, you realize that Amber Rae really DID inspire you to be an unemployed wanderer and your Mom politely asks to you to get off her couch and go get a job.
I remember the hot sensation of embarrassment crawling up my face as I read that comment over and over again. Should I approve this comment, for all to see? Should I write back? How do I respond? Will this person keep coming back and blasting all my future posts?
I started to question whether blogging about my uncertain journey was actually a good idea, if comments like these were going to appear each time. In my fit of worry, I emailed Amber to ask how she dealt with tough feedback.
She reminded me that any strong reaction to my writing – whether harsh or encouraging – is a positive sign. I could feel my skin thicken already, as I braced myself for the many tough critics I would surely face in the months ahead. I approved the comment and, in that moment, consciously decided to live my truth out loud unapologetically.
My passion for writing grew tremendously as months passed and the comments, readership, and personal notes of appreciation grew. It became more apparent that I was doing something right by sharing my journey openly and with an exposed heart.
As I’ve taken more risks, made more connections, and shared more of myself with readers, my passion for life has grown, as well. And to my surprise, no additional harsh comments or emails have come in since the week I launched the blog.
Now the demotivators come in the form of writer’s block and traffic slumps. Sometimes, a post I’m really proud of gets little to no feedback. Trials like these ‘teach resilience,’ as Amber Rae pointed out to me back in January.
Each time I’ve doubted my writing most and wanted to throw in the towel, someone has reached out to tell me my blog has inspired them to make a positive change in their life. A few people have told me to never stop writing, and this always makes my heart skip a beat.
When you do something you are truly passionate about, your energy rubs off on other people. You have the power to change lives, simply by being courageous enough to go after what you love.
Know that the journey to greatness is steep and often times you’ll meet a cul-de-sac where you thought a through-road existed. As Paul Angone says, ‘a dead-end is only a dead-end if you turn around.’
Re-route and charge on. Don’t give up. The world needs you and your gifts.
And to Mr. Reality, if you’re still reading this blog 47 posts later, then I don’t need to tell you that I’m not living on my mom’s couch. But she wants you to know that her guest room has my name on it, should I ever ask. She’s awesome like that.
With courage, love, and intensity,
Photo credit: trench_mouth / Foter / CC BY-ND
Nice article. We should never give up our goals in life. If we struggle to achieve our goals, it is sure that we can achieve it.
this is amazing! i wish i had the courage like you right now. I’d love to leave and just focus on my blog but those questions of, what about money, how will i pay the bills, will it even work out or will i have just left a job i need always filter in my head! your brave and you’re and inspiration! ( http://www.justaskb.net )
Thank you, B! 🙂 Trust me, I had all those thoughts filtering through my head, too. It’s been nearly a year since I left my job, and only NOW am I finding that clarity. But it’s been a beautiful ride full of life-empowering insights and I wouldn’t have traded this time away from the desk for all the money in the world. xo.
Girl, this is beautiful. I had someone write a hate-filled comment not once, but twice on my blog… And the second was admitting they hated me and couldn’t stand my writing. At first I was offended, then I was incensed. I wrote back angry emails to calm myself (they were no-reply, of course) but when that didn’t work I didn’t know how to get over it. So, I prayed for patience and forgetfulness… and for them to be struck by lightening (we’re all human here right?).
A couple months later, I remembered it and was so proud of my ability to feel the hurt and to realize the way words can be damaging because it’s easy to forget. When I don’t like something I’ve read I leave it be instead of attacking. Just because something’s on the internet doesn’t mean you’ve got to engage with it including my stuff. 🙂
And, for the writers, you’re spot on: The world needs you and your gifts. We can do this giving thing. We can!
For the record, I love your blog + writing style, and really appreciate this comment (despite replying back months later… oops!). I was just reading a post about fear on your blog, and am enamored with this: “I’m ragged and raw and mostly unprepared. And that’s allowed. That’s what life is about. And, I’m alive. Very much alive.”
Thank you for sharing yourself, as ragged and raw and unprepared as you may feel to do so 🙂
Re-route and charge on. Don’t give up. The world needs you and your gifts.
I love that part. It’s so simple yet so loud. My best friend turned me on to your blog, bravo to you for following your dreams! More people in this world would benefit from having the same outlook as yourself 🙂
So happy you found your way here — thanks for sharing your thoughts!
This part totally hit home with me – “When you do something you are truly passionate about, your energy rubs off on other people. You have the power to change lives, simply by being courageous enough to go after what you love.”
That is beyond true!
I haven’t gotten that much negativity online yet *knocks on wood*. I have gotten comments from people who asked if I couldn’t draw “other” things. I immediately know when someone says it out of e.g. jealousy. It’s a specific tone in the writing you know? With one man I almost started a discussion on Facebook, but then I just deleted his comments and blocked him as a friend.
So yes! Never give up! Keep on doing what you love to do and following your heart, while enriching other people’s lives with what you have to say. In the end, negativity isn’t worth your time and if people don’t like the art or words, they should find someone else to stare at or maybe look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are doing anything worthwhile in their lives for themselves.
Now I have to read your debut post. 🙂
Thanks for the love and thoughtful note, TJ 🙂 Your illustrations and project with Lori are a great example of how you are improving other people’s lives by doing what you love. So inspiring!