It started innocently enough this morning. I saw a comment about a book that caught my interest. I went to a site to see what people thought of the book. What I was looking for? Intellegent reviews and feedback on what readers did or didn't like so I could get a feel for this book and decide if it was something I wanted to purchase. What I got?
Now, I don't mean to get all mommy-minded here but honest and nice are two of the things I'm struggling to teach my toddler at this very moment and it's not easy. It would be way easier to teach him one of these very important life skills. Not both. Here's an example:
Toddler being honest: "Ew! *throws chicken* "This chicken is disgusting. I'm not eating it. I want something different!"
Toddler being nice: *winces and spits out a mouthful of chicken back on plate* "I'm done. My belly is full."
(yes, they are both things son has done or said) See the difference there? One lands him in big trouble and two leaves him hungry. I'm doing my best to teach him to combine them. State his honest opinion in a nice way. To me nice doesn't mean pretending to like something. No one should have to pretend to like something (unless it's a present from Great Aunt Marge that she's watching you open, but that's a whole different subject). I want my son to feel comfortable telling people his honest opinion on things in life. But I want him to stop and think of a way to do it nicely. I don't want him to let people walk all over him but I don't want him to be a bully either. I must tell him 10x a day now to, "Treat others as you want to be treated."
We aren't robots. We all have our own invididual opinions. On everything. That's part of the beauty of this world. We should embrace that. Share it. Honest does not equal nice or mean. Honest is honest. It's how we choose to deliver it. It's a choice. (I struggle with this daily in my personal life!)
I've been involved in creative endeavors in one way or another my entire life. I took art lessons all through school, went to college for art. I had teachers, judges and every one with an opinion, dissect my work. Some were honest, some were nice and some were mean. The only ones I remember are the ones that were a combination of honest and nice. The ones that helped me grow and learn. Become a better artist even if it stung.
Same with my writing now. I seek out the people who take the time to be honest and nice. Not only nice. As great as it would be to hear nothing but complimentary things all day it wouldn't do a thing to help me grow as a person. To me, being nice and honest shows that the person respects me even if what they have to say about my writing isn't all ponies and rainbows. It makes me respect them. Value their opinion.
Awhile back I made a decision not to post negative reviews on my blog or any review type sites. Do I read books I don't like? Definitely. But I'm a writer before I'm a reviewer. I want to spread the love, support authors and help people discover books they'll love. That's my choice. I know a lot of people disagree with this. On the flip side, I'm grateful for those who share thoughts on both books they like and don't like. I resepect that. I just wish we could all remember that no matter where we stand on issues, what kind of lives we live outside the internet, we are all connected by our love of books.