A few years ago, I retired my blog because I wanted to write under my name. More importantly, I wanted to see if I could branch out beyond human resources and write about something fresh.
In January, a friend of mine reached out and said that he “ceased reading my work” because it lacked passion and authenticity. Where I was once clear and focused on The Cynical Girl, now my voice is lost.
Around the same time, another person sent me a note and expressed his dismay that this site and The Cynical Girl are exactly the same. No difference in voice. No difference in tone. In fact, he was severely disappointed in my lack of growth. Wasn’t I meant to do something different? Why was I re-creating the same website?
My response to both men was the same.
“Who the hell asked you?”
It’s like neither of them reads my blog. I’m not looking for feedback. I’ve never looked for feedback. Feedback-adverse since 1975. Pretty sure that comes through loud and clear to everybody.
YOU CAN LEARN AND GROW WITHOUT FEEDBACK
It’s not like I don’t want to grow and learn; it’s just that random, individualized feedback is unhelpful to most artists and authors (and bloggers). I have specific questions about my audience and my voice. I have areas of strengths and weakness. When I have a particular area that is troubling me, I seek out answers from experts.
I got this.
FEEDBACK IS A FEELING, NOT FACT
What’s disruptive is the casual email or the arbitrary comment that tries to be helpful and causes nothing but a distraction. Even when it comes from a good place—and it almost always comes from a good place—the comment is often uninformed and naive.
(How can I be both the alike and different from my old blogging persona at the same time?)
FEEDBACK CAN BE WRONG
Also, for real, back to my original point: Who asked you? We live in a push-push-push world. Pulse polling. Micro-feedback. Prescriptive interventions. You don’t ask you kids for feedback on dinner. (You like broccoli? No? You want chicken nuggets? Again? Ok!) You don’t ask your spouse for feedback on your marriage vows. (You like skinny blondes? Oh, I’m sorry, go for it!)
Maybe take your foot off the pedal, and your fingers off the keyboard, and resist the urge to provide unsolicited feedback.
SLOW YOUR ROLL
If you care about the people in your life, I have one piece of advice: Lavish praise when it’s appropriate and ignore what’s not to your liking. That’s how the experts train dolphins (and husbands). That’s how you give feedback to a blogger, too.