There’s a television show in the UK called ‘Take Me Out.’ If you’ve never seen it, think ‘Blind Date’ but on steroids. The premise is that one man is brought before thirty women with the aim of impressing them and winning a date with one. At the start all the women have a light on in front of them, but as the rounds progress they can turn off the light ‘if they do not believe a meeting with this man would be constructive to their well-being’ (Thank you Wikipedia). No likey, no lighty. It’s the ultimate in guilty pleasure TV and the kind of show that no self-respecting person would ever admit to watching, especially in a blog post that could be read by anyone.
So, one of the things I’ve…. I mean my friend Bob….. noticed, is that no matter what man comes out, never have all the girls left their light on. It doesn’t matter how good looking, physically fit, intelligent or humorous the man is, there’s at least one lady, and usually many more that just don’t like him. You can’t please everyone.
While you think about that, let’s play a game. I’m going to quote three genuine Amazon reviews, and you have to guess which book they’re for. Ready?
Book 1 – As is so often the case, it starts off with some promise. We are painted a picture of early 20th-century America with all the hopes that go with it. Sadly, mine fizzled in the way that the narrator’s dreams did. The book comes over as a poorly-written schoolboy essay. The characters are wafer-thin and the situations absurd….The writing style is best described as bland, over-blown, not always accurate, and by no means is this literary excellence. It is very difficult to understand what the fuss is all about.
Book 2 – This book has a great start (first few pages)… Unfortunately it went downhill very quickly and soon became dull, boring, pretentious, and gimmicky. The sentence structure and grammar are such that if you had written an essay in this style in your English class at school then you would have been “caned”!… The description is totally over the top and does nothing to help the narrative.
Book 1 is one of my favourite books of all time, The Great Gatsby.
Book 2 is the current number one bestseller on Amazon, The Book Thief.
Book 3 is the widely considered classic, Lord of The Rings.
No likey, no lighty. My point is that no matter what it is you’re doing, someone out there just won’t get it. In fact quite a lot of people will probably think it’s no good, that it’s rubbish. We look for the approval of our peers, and when this isn’t forthcoming this can be a real deterrent. That’s why it’s vitally important to remember that you can’t please all the people all the time.
So don’t try. Trying to please everyone is a surefire way to please no one Rather, be passionate. Write the book you want to read, code the program you want to make, draw the picture you want to see. It’s the only way you can create something you can be proud of. Sure, you will get negative reviews, and that’s okay. You’re in good company, with Fitzgerald, Zusak and Tolkien. And somewhere along the line, just maybe, possibly, someone else will like what you made too.