There are times in our lives when we will come up against naysayers, the ones that want to shoot us down, those that believe we have no right to be where we are. For the most part, these people will be those who we don’t know from a bar of soap, and will likely be the ones to give a writer a negative review. Some will veil personal attacks under the guise of trying to better things for all, but you know the truth. They’re there, so we have to accept it. And for those wanting to be professional writers, criticism is just part of the journey.
Believe it or not, I’m prepared for the critics to attack my story and writing. I’m expecting to be shot down a few times by the critics. It might sting a little, my manuscript is my baby, my precious story that I’ve spent years crafting. These critics only push me harder to perfect my craft.
I’ve encountered my fair share of negative feedback over the years, and trust me, sometimes the emotions run high. I always try to approach critiques with the philosophy that every critique will have something worth considering, even those that do nothing but say that your story is utter rubbish. I’ve always tried to remain positive. However, there was one type of critic that I wasn’t prepared for: the one that didn’t attack my writing, but my positive practices of sharing information with other writers, and not some stranger that I didn’t know from a bar of soap, but rather someone whom I’ve known for years and had thought we shared philosophies. Boy, was I wrong.
When I made this choice to travel the road toward publication, I knew I was never going to be able to make it alone. I surrounded myself with other writers who understood the crazy frenzy that consumes us while writing our stories. I had surrounded myself with those who are published, knowing that I could ask advice and get feedback about the whole process. I really value the networking that I’ve gained from this approach, learning from the experiences of others. I now take joy in sharing my experiences with the next writer that comes along, by way of workshops, feedback on their writing, freely sharing information that comes across my various social media feeds, or just a good, old chinwag over a cup of coffee. All of this in the effort so we writers don’t feel so isolated and alone.
I do hold myself to a high standard, I always have. Let’s face it, I’m a overachiever and proud of it. I wouldn’t have a PhD if I didn’t push myself to strive for greatness. Do I expect everyone around me to hold themselves to the same standard that I do? Of course not. The road follows a different path for everyone. However, I will gladly encourage others to push themselves, moving out of the comfort zones. It’s a scary road that I’m on, so I want to take as many writers as I can with me, so we can hold each others’ hand and help each other to remain strong when the naysayers try to tear you to shreds.
I’m a resourceful person, not afraid to put myself out there. So when I get information, I like to share it with those around me. Sometimes the information is useless to me, but that useless information might actually be the little nugget of gold that my neighbor needed to take that final step. So when I was personally attacked for this information sharing philosophy, told that I was spamming “everyone”, I was floored. Even now, I don’t understand how sharing information about writing tidbits that I find on the internet or the stories from other writers about their own experiences with publication, or that highly desirable publisher that is currently accepting submissions, could be considered inappropriate. There is a lot of information out there, and I know the bits that I come across are only a few specs of sand on the beach.
For the last few days, I’ve forced myself to look past the personal attacks to the critique itself. Remember, every critique will have something worth considering. Every time I get worked up again, I force myself to repeat my favorite line about maintaining strength while those around you are trying to push you down.
I’m a tree, I can bend. (Lily Tomlin – 9to5)
But I always add that extra line:
Just as long as the dogs don’t pee on me.
Here’s what I’ve concluded from my time of reflection. The information that I share with other writers is important enough to continue to share with other writers. However, I have chosen to set up a public community Facebook page (Writing Tidbits) where the information can be shared with all writers, everywhere. The information comes from a wide range of sources, and I hope the sources for that information will continue to grow and diversify. I will not share “Buy my Book” ads on this page, but I will gladly share stories of experience from various writers. I might even share a few of my own experiences too.
Have a look. You might find that little nugget of gold that was all you needed for the next step in your own journey.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016