“Retire & Get a Manager Post @ McD” — a Reader Wrote To Me
[And yes, I would love doing that job because it is equally challenging and respectful. It’s just that I like writing and have chosen this trade.]
I am a writer on Medium and have been around for some time now. I owe a lot to this platform. I am the writer I am today because of the endless love and support I get from readers and other writers.
Well, things took a tad nasty turn yesterday.
As always, I started by checking the notifications (I love connecting with readers, which fuels me for the day ahead). And there sat the response, as innocuous as any other.
It was for an older story Being a Writer is 10X Shittier Than Being On a Job, that I had penned to vent out the challenges of being a writer. And trust me, it is an easy-going, read-as-you-sip-your-lemonade kinda story. Light-hearted ranting about how being a writer is much harder than a 9–5.
Interpretation went awry
I read the post as enthusiastically as I read all the others. And this is how my mind interpreted it all along:
“And so you are, most certainly, a writer.”
My mind read — It is certain, you ARE a writer (smile on my face).
“You have used the skills that you learned in elementary school to write this article.”
Interpretation — You have made this so simple and understandable (smile still intact).
“That being said, it’s easy to write; it’s easy to write shit. To write quality material, well, that requires several things: clarity, voice, vigor.”
(Alert at the word ‘shit’. But things go back to normal in the second sentence. Okay, maybe he is trying the contrast effect)
“But let’s get back to the contradictory nature of your article.”
I am thinking as frown surfaces — Okay, he has something to disagree with.
And as I read further, it became clear that it would be my first hate mail. (I don’t know why, but I smiled. Maybe because celebrities get hate mail, and at that moment, I felt like one!)
“You continue to write on Medium for mere pennies” — OUCH.
Not for mere pennies. It’s NO pennies, my friend. I am in a country where Medium doesn’t pay its writers. So, you are wrong there (for sure).
And this sentence sealed the deal:
And since you are terrible at writing, you should, most certainly, retire and later apply for the manager position at McDonald’s.
It was only when I read the last sentence that the clarity dawned. And I had to re-read the whole passage with this new perspective.
The pride I take in my response
I swear I felt no anger or animosity toward the writer or need to clarify, negate, or reprimand him. On the contrary, I was as calm as I was before stepping on this mud patch.
I just paused as a thought raced in my mind — do I have the time to respond to this? No. Then let go.
So, I clapped 50 times and wrote ‘God Bless You’.
That was my way of detaching myself from that energy. I have neither hidden the response nor blocked the person, with no intention of naming him.
What to take away from this?
It is one thing to be receptive to something and another to soak it in. One needs to be aware of letting things affect one in a way that hinders progress.
It can be hateful mail. It can be a rejection. It can be a tanked story. They all can sap away the zeal to move forward. It is essential to treat them as just ‘events’.
You are not defined by what happens to you; you are defined by what you do — keep doing your thing.
And yes, thank you, buddy!
For two things:
- To reacquaint me with my inner self. For the revelation that I am in control of my emotions — I can take such things in my stride and continue with my work.
- And for giving me a topic to write on!
You see, without bitter, there is no sweet.
I have tasted salty, sour, and bland before, but bitter? Well, like everything else, it was a first. And thankfully, the after-taste was not at all bitter.
I take this shot with a pinch of salt. And carry on with what I know best.