A funny thing happens when you start to grow a blog/instagram/social media presence. Strangers will give you praise. And strangers will give you criticism. It's kind of all part of the package deal. There's one in every crowd, and as you grow your reach, there might be many in your crowd.

I'm new to this and attempting to navigate it. I've heard other bloggers/writers talk about how important it is to develop a thick skin. To ignore both the praise and the criticism. If you live for the opinions of others, whether good or bad, you will die. To survive and thrive in a creative industry you must do your best, with what you have, while ignoring the opinions of others.

I'm learning more and more how to allow hurtful things to affect me less and less. I used to get upset when people would copy me. I try to see it more as a compliment now, and less as something that was "stolen" from me. I know that this is just part of the industry, and in the words of T. Swift, I try to just shake it off and move on.

Yesterday, I had a follower on Instagram comment that they were concerned, in all seriousness, that I left the comma off my "hello handsome" card. Minor offense, I know, but it still made me think, laugh, and reflect on it all. It's much, much easier to be cruel online than it is in person, and since online communities are a snapshot of all of humanity, there will always be negative people, as well as people with strong opinions, both online and off. Learning how to navigate it all is just something that comes with the territory.

I want to hear from those that have walked this road longer than me: how do you handle the "noise" of others regarding your work? How do you stay engaged with your craft while disengaging from the negativity and strong opinions of others? Would love to hear your thoughts.