4 judgments you’ve made about me through my writing

I am now judging you for judging my writing. I am also judging your reading habits in the sense that I’ve judged that you judge me. Right?

I recently published a piece on Matador Network about dating and relationships, and the response was overwhelming. Like, mega crazy. The vast majority was incredibly positive, but there were at least two or three comments that niggled away at me until I couldn’t enjoy my weekend in Halifax. Funny how that happens. Funny how 100 people can throw confetti at you and shout, “YOU’RE THE BEST!” but that one person that calls you slut just really, really gets under your skin.

Tip for new writers: When you’ve created a stir and people start leaving inane, unintelligent comments, you’re doing something right. At least, keep repeating that to yourself.

And perhaps I shouldn’t be exploring this topic at all. Perhaps the best response is to just let it all slide and keep writing real shit that appeals to people that are normal. But let’s talk a bit about being a Responsible Reader.

A student of mine at MatadorU recently asked me about being objective in travel writing. It was my conclusion that unless you’re writing for Wikipedia, it’s impossible to be objective. You’re subjective even if you’re writing a guidebook that isn’t a personal narrative, just because YOU choose the details.

That’s why being a Responsible Reader means you have to evaluate everything you read with an open-mind, and the understanding that just because you can’t relate or simply don’t care about what you’re reading doesn’t mean somebody else can’t.

Here’s what I’ve been misjudged for over the years.

1. You write about nightlife and partying; therefore, you’re shallow.

The snobbery that accompanies this one is just…man. Bullet to the brain.

I write about nightlife. I’m a firm believer in the fact that when you experience how the locals do things when the sun goes down, you get a better understanding of where you are. Nightlife is a component of EVERY CITY. How can you brush it under the rug? You meet people. You have conversations. You drink the local beer.

I recently took on a role at Matador Network compiling a book titled 101 Places to Get F*cked Up. It’s partnered with St. Martin’s Press and it’s my first real foray into the world of book publishing, and it’s a huge fucking deal. I was expecting a few negative comments, but the one that irked me the most was someone accusing us of labeling all backpackers as sleazy, drunken bums.

No. That’s the label you’ve affixed. The work we’ve been assembling for this book comes from some of the most talented, intelligent writers I’ve ever worked with.

If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read. It’s called being a Responsible Reader and not shitting on someone else’s work just because of your own high-falutin’ ‘tude, brah.

2. You write about dating and men; therefore, you’re a slut.

If you’ve ever used the word “slut” around me I automatically bump you to the bottom tier of my People Who Are Clueless list, somewhere between Neanderthal and Serial Murderer.

I won’t even get into the “women hate” aspect of that word, but when someone recently left a comment on Facebook saying all I ever wrote about was “hooking up,” I had to go back through my blog posts to see if this were true. All I discovered were a few honest posts about my lack of love life, and I actually ended up feeling disappointed in myself for not being MORE honest. You said you wanted more travel. Tough titty, relationships are a part of travel. And life. And things that are good.

AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T READ IT. JESUS.

3. You’re 26-years old; therefore, you’re too young to understand the world and your opinion is invalid.

This one…oh buddy. This one takes the cake. “Ageism” is a term typically reserved for negative attitudes toward seniors, but it’s been a constant obstacle ever since I started out as a tech writer five years ago.

I am usually one of the youngest – if not THE youngest – writer on any editorial team. I may be the youngest person in the Travel Media Association of Canada. But instead of celebrating these accomplishments, many Responsible Readers label me as inexperienced and “too young.”

In my brief 26 years on this planet, I’ve dealt with several cancerous deaths of beloved family members, the brutal murder of my aunt, the debilitating sicknesses of my mother and brother, numerous heartbreaks, and my own disastrous anxieties and fears.

I didn’t mean to recount my list of sob stories, merely question: DID YOU KNOW THAT? I don’t claim to know everything. I know barely anything, in the grand scheme of things. What you read about from any author is an unbelievably small window into his/her life. How can you possibly know someone based on 1000 words?

4. You’re snarky; therefore, you’re bitter and jaded.

This ties in with #3. I’m a fucking bubble. Have you seen the colours of this website? Really? I’m about as bitter as a carton of fresh milk.

What I am, though, is realistic. And honest. And I am never going to stop being ME.

What did we learn here today? As a Responsible Reader, YOU:

-Must absorb information with an open-mind and the ability to process such information with the knowledge that it may apply to someone else more than it does to you.

-Understand that everything is subjective.

-Be nice and withhold any asshole comments, because writers have feelings and putting them out there is brave enough without you being condescending and ridiculous.

  • http://twitter.com/20sTravel Stephanie

    I love this! Because man, sometimes being a writer on the internet (or a lady on the internet) is so frustrating! I think there is something about the anonymity of being behind a computer screen which just gives some people free reign to be juiceboxes.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Hahaha, RIGHT? I wonder if writers ever just “get over it.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rob.jwhite Robin White

    I’ve never actually been irritated with you *until* now. I’m not sure why but this just feels kind of self indulgent, sorry. I still like all of your other pieces and don’t think you’re a slut, if that helps.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Totally self-indulgent. No mistake there. Thanks, Robin!

  • camorose

    It’s crazy how one negative comment can outweigh all of the positive ones. Way too much mental headspace goes to dealing with putting those negative ones out of my head, and trying to focus on the positive ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Avventura/100001838772186 Jennifer Avventura

    Your style is great, keep going with the flow and forget about the idiots who leave nasty comments. Jealousy will get them no where. Your sarcasm, wit and humour is what keeps me coming back; plus the fact you’re a bright ray of beautiful young sunshine who says what she wants, goes for what she wants … and the icing on the cake? Gets what she wants! The world needs more honesty. Keep up the awesome work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Avventura/100001838772186 Jennifer Avventura

    Ok, I love this term ‘juicebox.’ I’m stealing it! :)

  • http://twitter.com/KandKadventure Karin Erica

    Your honesty has always been compelling for me, not enough writers are honest enough about who they are, and take themselves too seriously. For Christ’s sake, we’re travel bloggers last, human beings first. Being inspiring and a role model is always going to be a part of it, but lets’ face it, those who are just so ‘goody-goody’ don’t get the traffic, I love the way you write.

  • Nancy

    Maybe the reason so many of the negative comments are so moronic is that they couldn’t come up with an intelligent complaint, which is a testament to how GOOD your writing is! I hope you can learn to let those slide off you, I probably wouldn’t be able to, but then you could save your strong feelings for intelligent negative comments to help you be even better! Also, I feel so angry for you every time I see those stupid comments! Not even just for you, anytime I see people on the internet make some stupid negative comment. It’s like those people are just bullies, so when you present a ‘vulnerability’ in any way as they see it, they’re like “Here’s my chance to show how awesome I am by putting down this person!” A-holes

  • http://www.facebook.com/erinparker75 Erin Parker

    awwww Candice! your snark and sass is the reason i try to use more f-bombs in my blog!! i fucking LOVE your writing style. don’t ever change it, cause it’s what makes you stand out.

  • Damon Dominique

    Hatas gon’ hate

  • Lauren

    Great read. Honest, well thought-out…hint of wise beyond your years ;)

  • Caroline Eubanks

    God bless you, Candice. What would the travel blogosphere be without you? Hope to see you in Toronto in June for TBEX 10 reunion and early birthday festivities!

  • Alexandra Shiels

    Don’t change your writing! I love it. You are one of my favorite blogs. I’m an blogger (well, in a very amateurish sense of the word) and I get discouraged when people have pre-conceived, negative notions about me. People have their own hangups and it always more about them than you. Besides, as long as you’re writing about what your passionate about and enjoying yourself, that’s the important thing. At least, that’s what I tell myself because I super sensitive and man, that shit does stick to your skin!

  • Lindi Horton

    Candice, I found both this piece and your article on Matador refreshingly honest. I just loved it and can totally relate. What people write in their comments are not a reflection of you or your writing but more a reflection of their own self loathing and bitterness. Don’t let it dull your vitality and sparkle. Keep up the great work!

  • Don

    Whether a reader agrees with you has no bearing on the value of what you have written. Readers should appreciate the clarity, simplicity, and honesty of your writing rather than looking for content to judge. I think it’s important that you to continue to grow as a writer and be open to feedback from others, so long as it’s constructive and has value. That’s all.

  • http://twitter.com/MaaritTym Maarit

    “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Keep writing what you write, keep doing how you do and sleep well at night knowing that you are inspiring to complete strangers. Haters don’t got that going for them, now do they?
    You are a fantastic, strong role model for future/current travel writers. Thank you for that.

  • Elsie Kendell Barrett

    There’s always someone ready to put a good person down in this life,,, and even more so on the Internet. Don’t let anyone tear you down. I’ve read some of your writings and from what I see you always focus on the Postive. You have family that know you and love you for who you are, goodness knows there are lots of us LOL. From your posts and feedback seems to me you have a lot of friends and fellow writers that enjoy your work. There’ll always be those that will contradict you but there’ll be more that will praise you :)).

  • Monica Prelle

    You wear animal print, so you must like exotic animals and the wilderness. Therefore you must like camping. So wild.

  • Vincent. U Fly Extreme. NZ

    yup, crazy how one negative can seemingly overpower a ton of positive.. you are not alone on that one! keep writing, we really enjoy your “ramblings” :) one day, you might even visit NZ and us .. we could even introduce you to a couple of local breweries :)

  • http://twitter.com/KatkaTravels Katka Lapelosová

    People are pricks, Can-Can (can I call you that? Idk it just popped into my head but if it’s obnoxious I WILL NEVER SAY IT AGAIN). I wish they wouldn’t get you down because look at all you’ve accomplished. They probably haven’t done nearly as much as you and so at 26, you’ve bested them. You’ve said things people don’t want to admit and that’s scary to some. Criticism is their defense mechanism. But if you need more help,

    http://katkatravels.com/?p=457

  • http://www.facebook.com/priyanka.kher.3 Priyanka Kher

    Hey Candice! Bravo..love this!

    I’ve often wondered why when people have nothing good to say, they don’t just shut up!

    ‘Be nice and withhold any asshole comments, because writers have feelings and putting them out there is brave enough without you being condescending and ridiculous.’-

    I couldn’t agree more. No matter what you tell yourself, a bad comment can take the sheen off a piece, even if momentarily. And, personally for me, no matter how detached I am, it hurts a bit.

    Thank you for writing this. You are awesome :)

  • http://twitter.com/acooknotmad Tim & Nat ✈

    As long as you do what makes you happy just keep doing it. People who don’t like it can quietly move on and keep their comments to themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/Curiosity_Trvls Jessica Wray

    Writing about nightlife, dating, being 26 and snarky– yes I judged you for all of those, but in a good way. I think all of those things are awesome. I love “hearing” your stories, (I never really feel like I’m just reading your articles) and I hope you continue to do your thing regardless of what the trollers say!

  • http://twitter.com/Loricatus_Lupus Michael J Ring

    No, she wears the skins of the wild animals she kills to eat.

  • sarahh

    Waaah? I want to hear more love life stories! Do you have a link to the MatadorU one?

    Candice, if you’re a slut, I’m a completely disgusting hoe-bag. I love your writing, your honesty and your choice of things to write about. Totally floats my boat.

  • sarahh

    Waaah? I want to hear more love life stories! Do you have a link to the MatadorU one?

    Candice, if you’re a slut, I’m a completely disgusting hoe-bag. I love your writing, your honesty and your choice of things to write about. Totally floats my boat.

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Candice, I adore your writing and especially liked your recent piece on Matador. I do the same thing with obsessing over the negative feedback instead of appreciating the positive, but I guess that just goes to show how much we care about our craft. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, girl!

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Candice, I adore your writing and especially liked your recent piece on Matador. I do the same thing with obsessing over the negative feedback instead of appreciating the positive, but I guess that just goes to show how much we care about our craft. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, girl!

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Candice, I adore your writing and especially liked your recent piece on Matador. I do the same thing with obsessing over the negative feedback instead of appreciating the positive, but I guess that just goes to show how much we care about our craft. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, girl!

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Candice, I adore your writing and especially liked your recent piece on Matador. I do the same thing with obsessing over the negative feedback instead of appreciating the positive, but I guess that just goes to show how much we care about our craft. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, girl!

  • http://twitter.com/eakeith La-Viajera

    Candice — You’re honest, and you have a personality. One that spills out onto your blog. People will always judge, but isn’t one of the satisfactions in that knowing that they’re probably wrong and too lazy to take the time to figure out who you really are?

  • http://twitter.com/theHchronicles Heather S. Hopkins

    I love your writing and find it refreshing and hysterical. I know what you’re talking about, though….I’ve been called a slut, a whore and an alcoholic based on many of my posts. For awhile, it really bothered me, so much so that I shut off my comments for 6 months. It’s true, though. If you set people off either way, you’re doing something right. Thanks for this post. Spot on. :)

  • http://www.travelerahoy.com/ Alouise

    Candice I think the only judgement I’ve ever made about you through your writing is that you’re pretty talented, and that you seem pretty awesome. I can’t believe there are people out there that would differ with either of those points (and just for the record those people are wrong).

  • http://www.travelerahoy.com/ Alouise

    Candice I think the only judgement I’ve ever made about you through your writing is that you’re pretty talented, and that you seem pretty awesome. I can’t believe there are people out there that would differ with either of those points (and just for the record those people are wrong).

  • http://www.travelerahoy.com/ Alouise

    Candice I think the only judgement I’ve ever made about you through your writing is that you’re pretty talented, and that you seem pretty awesome. I can’t believe there are people out there that would differ with either of those points (and just for the record those people are wrong).

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    I can’t respond to you all individually because, holy cow! That was a crazy response. Thanks so much for all your kind words and lovely comments. I totally didn’t mean for this to turn into an ego-stroke extravaganza. But it kinda did. And I guess I’m okay with that. My readers rock.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.odonnell.98 Jim O’Donnell

    You dance on beds. You’re a dirty bed dancer person. You bad dirty bed dancing person.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lia.hawaii Lia Alicia

    haha I too honestly read this and laughed out loud a few times. Your writing EXUDES color and a desire to “feel it all’ and THATS real living. Don’t ever stop writing the truth with your own voice, we need spunky writers and people like you in the travel community and, duh, in the world! Rock on girlfriend

  • Brett A Horting

    I say: say what you want, fuck the general public’s opinions, the consequences, or lack thereof will catch up with, or not. Keep it up Candice!