It’s my birthday today. I’m old – or at least, today, I’m feeling old, but I feel good too – so I think I win. Hubby got me a Nook, something that hasn’t arrived in the mail yet and paid for my trip away with my friends tonight. He’s all sorts of awesome.

This afternoon two of my friends (and crit partners) will be heading off to Tulsa for the Nimrod International mini writer’s conference. This is my first ever writer’s conference. I’m scared shitless because an editor will be looking at my first five pages (which may not stay my first five pages, but that’s a story for another time)

The thing I realized last night during my critique group meeting while we brainstormed is this:

It doesn’t matter what you write, how brilliant a piece of inspiration you might have, or how perfectly you (and perhaps others) think you’ve phrased something.

You can never please everyone.

There will always be at least someone out there who doesn’t like your style/voice/genre/story/characters/cover art/etc. Not to mention all books are subjected to their reader’s likes and dislikes.

For exmaple: one of my crit partners HATES, and I mean HATES present tense. She loves the premises of my work, but hates that I write in present tense. It’s a dislike she can never fully overcome and so while she has great insight, sometimes that dislike is going to carry over.

I’m not fond of first person – so books in first person have to feel solid enough to overcome my inherent dislike (and let’s face it, there are a LOT of first person books out there).

Now, I don’t mean you shouldn’t listen to sound advice – but you need to be strong in your belief of your work, or else critiques and other people’s opinions will crush you and your dreams.

The point is – you can’t please everyone ever. So there’s no use beating yourself up over it. Just write the best god damned story you can and be confident in yourself and what you’ve written. Stay true to your story and your characters. Don’t let people who might have an axe to grind against you, your genre, or your personal style change the goals you have.

Sometimes people can influence us, whether they mean to or not, with indirect comments, thoughts and actions. It’s taken me a long time to realize that my story doesn’t have to please everyone – the outcome has to please me. It has to be something I’m proud of and I know has taken my best work to produce.

I’m in this to tell my stories, and though I hope the world loves them too, I just have to know that I love and am proud of what I’ve created.

In all my wisdom, old age and stuff, this is a realization that’s taken me far too long to reach, but I’m glad I finally found it.

What about you? Do you allow your writing to react to the opinion of others? (Not the sound advice or good critique, the opinion). How do you let others influence your writing?