I can guarantee that, as you're reading this sentence, I'm eagerly refreshing my 'stats' page to see how many of you discerning people have read my blog. I can also assure you that I'm not the only Blogger to do so, I'm just stupid enough to admit it.
Receiving a compliment about my blog makes me happier than Ian Hislop getting sued by Piers Morgan. It makes me feel that, in a world of ground-breaking technological and scientific advancements, I have my own little way of contributing something - imagine a tumultuous, squeaking mouse in a field of horses. I've also recently discovered that, as I presume many writers do, I have a slight need for the gratifying feeling of a compliment.
Anyone who is creative will see their work subject to criticism and compliments. You can't really say that much about an accountant's latest...accounts... but an article or a painting leaves people welcome to voice their opinions. And there's very little that the human race enjoys more than passing judgement. I always wonder whether I'm really cut out to be a writer - I thought that three years of journalism left me immune to criticism. However, a few months ago whilst I was job-hunting, I did some freelance copywriting. I wrote a 250 word article and got paid £2.50 - so it could have been forgiveable that I may have skimmed over the research part. When someone then left a comment online, telling me my article was incorrect and that I should have done my research better - the pain seared through me. It was a horrible feeling, a mixture of exasperation and reluctant acceptance that he was right.
I could attempt to delve into the possible psychological reasons as to why some people, predominantly those who are creative, feed off praise. I could question what it is about the human condition that leaves us so reliant on compliments and so fearful of impertinent criticism. Instead, I'm going to give you a few examples, courtesy of The Guardian, of why I shall never again pay attention to criticism, unless it is of someone credible. To conclude, the bored and bitter readers are a writer's worst enemy:
The pedantic prowler:
This is a light-hearted article, whereby the reader talks about having to read a book in candle-light due to a power-cut. A reader quotes a part of the article:
'It struck me that this was how people had read for almost all of the time that people have been reading: in darkness, slowly, concentrating, and more sensitive to the subtle interplay between what was on the page and what appeared to be on the page.'
...and then says: 'Surely, in the past, reading would normally have been done during the day. Medieval scriptora, for example, functioned only during daylight hours as candles were banned from being taken inside (for obvious reasons). I suspect that reading - particular reading for leisure - in the hours of darkness would itself be something of an artifact of gas or electric light, and not something that would have been common before the twentieth century.'