Monday, October 5, 2009

You Can't Please Everyone

This seems like something we should all know, right? True enough, but it never ceases to amaze me the amount of stress we sometimes undertake just to appease everyone.

This applies to work, family, friends--you try to please your boss, your clients, your co-workers, your family, your friends, but in the end, doesn't it seem like either everyone is happy and you're miserable or no one is happy and you're miserable? These are probably worst case scenarios--it's not to say that we aren't able find joy in making others happy, that in itself can bring us the most happiness, but where do you draw the line and just say no? I'm doing this for me...

I had one of those days today. I am currently stretched between two projects at work, and both of the individuals I am working with want me to drop the other project, and devote my full time to them. So what am I doing now? I'm working insanely long hours to try and get both jobs done, because apparently I have the hardest time just saying no, and standing up for myself. I want both of them to be happy. Not just because it's work, and I have to--this is one case where it's actually my choice.

In doing this, although they are happy, I'm giving up something that makes me happy, and that's being able to write every night.

This is my own fault, of course and I realize that.

The thing I wonder is if we ever unconsciously apply this to our writing. I know many of us are after that ostensibly elusive dream of becoming published--I know I am. I want to somehow make my mark on the world, I suppose, but without causing a big splash. I think encouraging others to read is one of the most remarkable gifts we can give. I've always communicated best through my writing, I enjoy it and it makes me happy. If I can bring joy to others through it too, well then, that's just a double bonus.

Right now though--I write for myself. I am writing the type of story that I know I would enjoy reading. I know others may not like it, but should I be writing to please them? It is a little bit of a double edged sword. If you don't write something that people will want to read, then how will you market yourself, and where? How will you be published? On the other hand, if you start significantly changing your writing just to chase after the latest craze, are you selling out?

I don't know if I can consider writing a job as yet--I mean, I know it is, but its brings me such a wonderful feeling, it doesn't feel like work at all. I can't say the same about my current day job. If you can be in a job, career, etc. that not only brings you joy, but brings joy and satisfaction to the lives of people you touch through it, then I think you have succeeded.

The sad thing is that when we are young, we are able to escape, find new worlds, discover magic in all forms... As we get older, very little intrigues us in the same fashion. For me though, a good book will always recapture that feeling. I like to lose myself in the words, to search for something that just might be bigger than what we know.

That said, I would like to reiterate:

You can't please everyone, but you should never give up on trying to please someone... If you've reached one person (at times--even if it's yourself), you've made a difference, no matter how small. Again, I know, all common sense, but definitely something we forget to remember...

Sorry, I know today's post was a little deep, but like I said--it's been one of those days...

Do any of you ever feel this way? I'd love to hear of any examples (success stories or trying stories) where you were faced with the tough decision of trying to make everyone happy at the expense of your own sanity.

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