A few years ago, I gave up on writing a book after some negative feedback from a friend. I was 60,000 words in. It wasn’t even negative feedback: just a few careless words.
I was reminded of that this week. It’s been a tough week, ups and downs, and so many of these ups and downs prompted by what (I think) others think of me or my work. Nothing terrible has been said. Just a few careless words.
I often speak thoughtlessly. Words are cheap and I throw them around. I’ve hurt people. And at times, I think, when I’ve spoken with more care, more thought, the things I’ve said have stayed with someone and helped build something instead of burning it.
It’s silly, isn’t it, to give up on a book because of what one person thinks. This isn’t how I want to live my life. But it’s not just about becoming more robust or more thick-skinned. The words that rattle around my head and erode me from the inside out are the words that were spoken to me as a child. They are part of me now. Building defences so that others can’t hear them doesn’t make them any quieter. I think I need to find a way of hearing them, properly.