“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”~ Mark Twain

We often heard that we should try to be comfortable with our decisions; we should live our life the way we feel is better for us.

As writers we were often advised to write the story of our heart, write what we like not what the market trends require. Often time successful artists and authors are those coming with innovative ideas. Ideas that were at first rejected.

Many of us pretend we don’t care about the opinion of others. And yet we were raised with many rules imposed by morality and good behavior. As children we had to please our parents, teachers. Often time our opinion didn’t count. We did things because we had to or because we wanted to please someone. As we grew up in life, we rebelled and started staying, “I’ll do it my way.”—Where is Frank Sinatra and his “I did it my way”?

Now after we have established ourselves in life and career, in family and society, can we honestly say we don’t care about the opinion of others? Or are we still trying to please others above us?

As writers, do we let judges’ comments shatter our desire to try? Do we let rejection letters destroy our dream of becoming authors? Do we let reviews shake our pride in our books?

When we care too much about the acceptance or approval of others, we give our power away.
Terry Cole-Whittaker said,” The key to be true to yourself, is to stop living to try to please other people.”

And yet we strive to get our boss’s approval, we submit non-stop to attract an editor’s acceptance, we improve our writing to keep our fans’ interest.

Whose opinions really matter for you? How do you reconcile your desire to do what you want with your survival in society?

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BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, winner of 2009 BEST contemporary romance at READERS FAVORITE and 2009 BEST ROMANCE NOVEL at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
Rx FOR TRUST: 5 stars at Readers Favorite.

7 comments

  1. Judy // July 5, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

    Interesting blog, Mona! As a writer we must listen to the opinions of others, using them to improve our "product". We'd be crazy not to be open to their opinions.However, the story we write must come from the heart. If it's not, what pleasure is derived from it? Someone could say, I suppose that it's a moral issue. I leave it up to others to make of it what they will...

  2. Mary Marvella // July 5, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

    Oh, man! Mona, you've been reading my mind! Judges in contests don't make me doubt myself, but my critique partners can.

    Okay, my dad and my Ex knew I wanted to please. That gave them a huge advantage over me.

    I still love my stories and my characters and I still believe in them, but I still react to comments that what I'm writing won't work, the characters aren't realistic, that I'm writing like an older person and whatever.

    I must remind myself that I can write for myself and just not give some things to certain folks who won't like them.

    Sometimes I have put a story or character aside because I couldn't handle so much disapproval at critique meetings and I hated to go empty handed.

    Thanks, Mona!

  3. Mary Ricksen // July 5, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

    I think we all spend a good portion of our lives trying to please others. With acceptance of ones self comes the lack of need for the approval of others. Too bad we don't get it younger and save a lot of anguish.
    Interesting Mona!

  4. Mona Risk // July 5, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

    Keep adding the comments. This is an open discussion.

    When I was young, I tried to be the perfect daughter, student, friend. As a result, I had to be always nice to my little sister, be an A-student, play whatever game my friends wanted me to play. The trend continued after I got married. I stayed home to raise the children, cook for the DH, until a dermatologist failed to treat my dried hands, so dried that blood often streaked out of parchment fingers. The physician told me to get myself a job and get out of the house. She was right. The bleeding stopped two months later. I bought books on how to be assertive and worked at pleasing myself.

  5. Joanne // July 5, 2010 at 8:32 PM  

    Whom do we really want to please? Good question, Mona. I like to think I'm writing to please myself, but if I look at this honestly, I have to admit this is not always true.

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 5, 2010 at 10:23 PM  

    Deep subject Mona. I've always been one of those people that tried to hard to please everyone and wound up never doing what I really wanted. But a few years ago, I decided to try pleasing my self. Must say it didn't go over well with all those people who were used to me putting them opinion and wants first. Still struggling with it.

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 5, 2010 at 10:26 PM  

    That really didn't make a lot of sense! What I get for not proof reading be for pressing publish! Aaaarrrgggh!