Hard-Knocks & Pep Talks

June 9, 2012 at 1:26 am (Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I often have my Friday blog posting planned ahead of time, but I’ve been over-run with answering interview questions and hunting out proofreaders this week, so I arrive at this point with nothing prepared. This, after a bit of a blow-out today. I was reporting to my husband about a nasty review that had more than just stung, when he suggested I write about reviews, unfair or otherwise, for my posting.

“I don’t want to write anything negative,” I said. And writing about reviews today would bring that out, even though my mood has improved since. I told him I wanted to write something positive. I try to write about positive things in my blog postings, and most of the time, it works.

So perhaps I’ll focus on all of the great support I was provided today, from writer friends, from reader friends, from older friends, and from family.

This isn’t an easy industry and none of us are without our flaws. I’m trying to learn what I can, but I make mistakes, and I always will even once I have practice and experience from years of effort. And I’ll always have doubts. Even well-established writers experience doubts, not every “professional” you meet along the road is nice or even civil, and there are more potential pitfalls than you can imagine, at least until you’re in neck deep. You have to research agents, publishers, editors, because there are sharks out there amongst the legitimate professionals, anticipating the chance to prey on unwary souls. Even just friendly networking can have its downside – other writers will bicker with you over petty little stylistic details, and try to assert that their method of doing things is the “only” right way.

Trying to find your way through this crazy mess can seem incredibly lonely, but sometimes a nasty jolt, or the realization that you can’t escape vulnerability to others’ whims, will make you see that you’re actually not alone at all.

I’ve had an absolutely amazing amount of support since I started writing – sometimes from people I could have never pictured believing in me, and other times from near strangers who have eventually become very good friends. My husband has always been a rock for me. My co-workers have rooted for me the entire way, even those that aren’t particularly inclined towards what I write. I’ve had test-readers offer me great testimonials, editors offer me constructive criticism and positive feedback in their thoughtful rejection letters, and fellow writers promote my work without any prompting on my part. The pep talk I got today from a writer I greatly admire definitely lifted me out of my funk. I hope everyone knows how much their kind words and encouragement matters.

I try to give back, and I really want to do my share of supporting the writers around me. I write reviews, primarily positive ones, and I do what I can to help. I’ve test-read, edited, proofread, interviewed and just made sure people were well aware of the books I really enjoyed, so that hopefully word of mouth would boost others interest. I recently poured everything I truly felt into a testimonial for a writer friend, and based on his response, it really touched him.

The bickering? I try to just steer clear of it, because on the odd day I get sucked in I tend to get irked and with that comes the likelihood that I will tread on someone’s toes. I tend to be fairly opinionated about some of the hot topics too, and honestly, as much as I want to debate and share with others for growth’s sake, there are some areas where I’m better off keeping my mouth shut, and just knowing I agree to disagree. This shouldn’t be a war – it should be a celebration of our differences.

So the next time you’re impressed with something a writer has produced – let them, and others, know. Maybe your support just might help get them past the next pitfall.

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