Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Turning off the Negative

If you are an aspiring author/writer (still not sure which one I am), you HAVE to develop a thick skin. Between opening yourself for critique from other writers, to beta readers, to actually submitting your work (babies) for potential rejection by agents and publishers, I'm not sure you have alot of choice. At least not if you plan to stay in this "business" and not want to burn your typewriter (like anyone uses them anymore) in some sort of "I quit" ceremony before you ponder the worthless track your life is taking. 

Okay, maybe that is a bit over dramatic, but you get the idea.

Recently, a member of my favorite writing group (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pens - on Scribophile and Goodreads) posted that she had let some family and friends beta read one of her stories only to be berated and beat down for the language she used, the type of story, and even some of the plot points. All because they didn't feel that her subject matter was appropriately christian or suitable for young readers. This particular writer actually began to question her ability to write based on their comments. She began to buy into the hype-- believe her own press, as it were.

This bothered me and actually inspired this little post.

The one thing I have learned in the past year of "serious writing" is this. You have to believe in yourself, what you are doing and your writing. Family means well, as do friends -- but they don't understand writing, publishing or what sort of creativity or work goes into the process. Sure, they mean well, and probably have your best interest at heart. But writing can be a lonely business. Stick with it, do what you think is right and hang the comments and not so gentle suggestions.

If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will either.


  1. Great post, love that last line :D I'm bookmarking this now for when I need that 'pick me up' ^_^

  2. "Here, here!" (or is it hear, hear????).
    Either way, I believe. But all you Pen's Ladies are one of the reasons I do. :o)

  3. I'm entering my third year of writing and have two self-published books released. At first I was very impacted by the comments of others. Now I am able to get over that. I listen but it rolls off my back.

    The voice I still can't ignore is my own. I have an inner creep that sits on my should when I sit down to write. It repeats - you stink, you're awful, and stop writing this is horrible. Ugh - I hope this goes away like the others. I'm working on it.


  4. Well said. We're in a tough business and we need to rely on ourselves and our own ability if we're going to make it.

  5. Too true. Writers need the support of other writers, it's said, but try not to get smothered. ;) It's also commonly said not to let family and close friends beta read for you. This post is sure-fire proof to support that statement, if anyone didn't believe it before Though it's sad that that proof might have been gotten at the expense of a writer's confidence in themselves and their work. It's hard enough to be confident in you writing when your own inner editor keeps screaming at you to change things. I ought to know. :P