Write for the Love of it!
Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach
I gave a lot of weight to what other’s thought.
I don’t know about you but in my early days of writing, I always gave a lot of weight to what other’s thought about my writing. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to get feedback from other’s. It is important to listen to what other’s are telling us about our writing.
its how we accept it and what we do with it that matters.
I had held these beliefs that ‘who am I’, ‘how can my writing be any good, I’m not… (name a famous author)’…
When I’d get input from other authors or writers, I’d take it to mean I couldn’t write or that I really wasn’t all that good at it. All I could see was all that was wrong with my writing.
I was truly missing out on what was being suggested.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t write, it was simple input or opinion from someone else. What they were saying probably had helpful tips but I didn’t always hear them. I read into it what I felt they were truly saying—I couldn’t write! I wasn’t good enough to write!
My writing probably did need some work and did need some guidance but not once did they say I couldn’t write. My interpretation did and it kept me small… for far too long.
Don’t take it personally
Too often we take what the person, who is giving feedback says, as truth. Especially when it is negative. If we get positive, it’s nice but we often brush it off as not important. The negative stuff though, often we do choose to take it personally.
It’s time to stop doing that.
The cool thing is that I now realize how far I have come.
Now when someone gives me feedback, does a review or criticizes, I look at what they are saying.
Is there truth in what is being said? Is there something that needs fixed?
Does it help me write better stories?
Does it help me as a writer or author?
Is it positive and uplifting?
If there is nothing in what they have written that either makes me feel good, gives me tips or helps me with writing a better story, I simply put it down to someone’s opinion. And they are welcome to it. I do not have to buy into it.
Recently I sent out the first chapter of my novel, Split Seconds, to people on my email list. These are some of the reactions I received to it. By the way I don’t know any of these people who wrote these.
“… I will eventually read this book. I haven’t read the second one yet. I say keep on with what you are doing, you do it well…”
“…I hate to say this, this not only did not choke me up, it seemed like a very cliched “set up for doom” with way too much weight being put into forewarning us about something that was going to happen in a spattering of words. If it has been played without the foreshadowing, if it had sucker punched the reader, then it would bring real power to the emotional base of the action…”
“Well, if that isn’t an attention grabber beginning I don’t know what is!…”
“Not all opinions are created equally.”
I chose not to take the one that I felt was rather negative as personal. I read it, wondered a bit about the person, shrugged and let it go. In the past, I would not have done that. I would have stewed about it for a long time and used it to prove I wasn’t a good writer. Now I just realize that my writing isn’t for that person. Now though, I choose to focus on all the positive comments that I had received. With over 100 reviews on Amazon for Captured Lies with over a 4.4/5 rating, I think I should start listening to the majority. 🙂
In the one negative review, I did take a bit of what I am sure the person meant as criticism as a positive – ‘forewarning that suggests doom’. Because that is exactly what I was doing. There is some doom that happens in the first chapter but it is the basis for what sets up the twists and turns that occur throughout the story. So I thought it was awesome that they got that. Although they didn’t quite see it how I wanted them to. But that’s okay. That person is not my audience.
The important thing is to remember that you are a writer. There are times you will get criticism/feedback that you need to go back and rework a story or work on your writing. And it might even be true. I had needed to work on my story and my plotting and my writing in general. But I stuck with it.
Listen to what others have to say but don’t let the negative feedback be your excuse to quit, let it be the fuel that keeps you writing.
Take what you can learn from other’s opinions and let the rest go!