It’s not a good idea to go on Amazon to find comments on your book. Period.
I did it the other day, and it ruined at least the daylight hours. Made me want to quit writing
, quit my computer, quit being online at all. The world out there was mean and cruel and stupid.
Here’s the thing: My latest book, 25000 Mornings, is called a devotional, but only for want of a better term. Believe me, it is no sister to Morning and Evening by Spurgeon! Not an exposition of scripture; not meant to be. It is what it is, just an encouragement to turn your mind and heart toward God sometime during your busy day. Didn’t claim to be much more.
So I was disgusted and disturbed when a couple of the reviews on Amazon gave the book a 1/5 rating for not being what it isn’t! (Full disclosure, one also thought I used scripture wrongly. I totally understood this hot button, since it is mine as well. I would, therefore, probably disagree with how she used whatever scriptures she was thinking of.)
There were a few 5/5’s, but even though only two were from people who know me, it wasn’t until The Next Day that I decided that fact should make a difference to how I felt. Thankfully, on The Day After that initial double “stab in the heart”, I realized I should be happy about the general 4/5 rating. More people liked me! And why should I expect everyone to love my little book anyway?
Day Three brought even more revelation as to what should be my stance: Why should I find such inordinate pleasure in the idea that most reviewers liked my book? If I wrote what I believe to be true, and did so for the right reason, why should the approval of others mean SO much? Or make me feel like giving up writing? And, even more important, shouldn’t even those who hate my book be free to say so without my putting them in the class of “hater” themselves, just because we disagree?
Oh, Fay! You are such a product of your time!
Day Four, today, brought me to a little calmer, more grown-up thinking about love, hate, and disengagement, in general. It came from the comments I just read online, after articles, Facebook posts, etc. Same as every day, really. Some are reasoned and well presented, on both sides of an issue. Many, sadly, are rude and palpably hateful. To tell the truth, I prefer reading comments that support my own beliefs. You do, too, right? Human nature? But I do appreciate the fact that we are all free to say what we think, whether our beliefs are informed or not, reasonable or not, well intentioned or not. And THAT is what is most important. Freedom, and exercising it.
Like most things, it has to be exercized, used, or it grows weak and might die.
Most of the people reading this will not be among those who verbally abuse others and think they are making a difference by doing so. But I do hope we won’t be shut down from engagement of any sort because we don’t want to offend.
If our words offend, that is our fault.
If our ideas offend, that is someone else’s problem.
If we allow fear of abuse or misunderstanding, or even loss of friends or popularity, to cause us to disengage from public discourse, then everyone loses. Freedom is lost; lost for all.