Your Work Is Not for Everyone

Whether it’s a blog post or a book, you can’t please every reader every time

Duncan Birmingham
Creators Hub
2 min readJul 19, 2021


Your writing should be as unique as you are. Photo: kohei_hara / Getty Images.

Sometimes people feel the need to reach out and tell me how much they hate something I’ve written. A friend I haven’t seen since high school texted me right after the premiere of a new show I was writing on just to let me know it “wasn’t my best work.” At a funeral, my aunt asked if I was still writing on “that disgusting show.” As I tried to defend myself, another aunt came over to ask what we were talking about.

Aunt One: We’re talking about his disgusting show.

Aunt Two: Oh yeah. I tried to watch that. It was horrible.

Aunt One: Yuck.

I tried to figure out which disgusting show of mine they were referring to but finally gave up and changed the subject before another relative stopped by to join their side.

I mean it’s not like I go to where my aunt works and criticize her. Where does she work anyway? More importantly, what does she like to watch? I think I heard her talking about Blue Bloods once. Maybe I’ll watch Blue Bloods and send her an email about how disgusting it is.

I thought of those unflattering words recently as friends and acquaintances I haven’t talked to since summer camp or catechism classes, started to reach out over social media to tell me they had preordered my new book and couldn’t wait to read it. I shuddered imagining them, excited for a good yarn, cracking open this indie press tome on the beach or in bed with their spouse. I pictured how they would cringe over an off-color sex joke, yawn over a low-stakes plot point, furrow their brow over a bit of magical realism. A few pages in and they’d be reaching for the remote control or maybe the phone to shoot me a quick text and ask if I was in therapy and also did my book get any better.

They’re going to hate it. They’re going to hate it so much, I worry.

But art that is liked by everyone is loved by no one.

Warhol said that. Or was it Cassavetes? I don’t want to look it up in case it’s some deeply toxic white male monster in which case I’d have to find a new quote to make my point.

What I tell myself during these little panics is that for every relative-by-marriage or former co-worker who calls your work disgusting or not their cup of tea, there’s someone else out there who totally and completely freaking loves it.

Now if only they’d speak up at the next family funeral.



Duncan Birmingham
Creators Hub

Duncan has written on tv shows like Maron and Blunt Talk. Find him on twitter @duncanbirm and order his upcoming first book here: