Let’s talk about the ultimate goal of writing.
Is that a foreboding enough opening for you? Are you scared? Because fear is what I want to talk to you about today.
The ultimate goal of writing is: sharing your work with people. That’s what getting published is, putting your work out there for people to read, to experience, to absorb, and to form an opinion about.
It’s that last part that a lot of people find terrifying. The fact that people will have their own opinions about what you wrote.
How dare they!
I know, right. I don’t know about your stories, but my stuff is great.
They should just enjoy the story I wrote and keep their mouths shut!
You see, we see eye to eye on this.
Okay, let’s be serious now. First, if they kept their mouths shut then they couldn’t tell if they liked it either. Secondly, the whole editing process—you know, the part I go on and on about as an integral part of the writing process—is based on people reading your work and talking to you about it. Lastly, even after the editing is all done, and you’ve made the story you want and love, there are still going to be people that comment and critique it, because that’s the way the world works.
Some people are afraid to write, or at least put their writing out there, because of this criticism. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. You’ve put so much time, effort, so much of yourself into this piece of literature. It’s your baby. You don’t want people to tear it down.
If you want to be a writer, one that shares their work with the world (gets published) then you just have suck it up and grow a thicker skin.
I really wish there was a secret for not letting things get to you, but there just isn’t. There are going to be people who read your stuff and just don’t like it. They won’t get certain things, or they won’t like the pacing, or how you describe something (combat for instance). They’ll feel the need to *ahem* blog about it, or write a review on your author page, or tweet about it. And you have to know their opinion is out there. There’s just no secret formula or method for dealing with it.
Let me share. There’s a review forAmsterdam and the Murder Twins in: The Oysters on Amazon.com (I’m not sure if it’s still there) that’s less than flattering. Overall the reviewer liked the story, but was confused about the pacing and didn’t know why there was a dirty cop in the story. They gave it a three -starred review, but the way they put it about the pacing and the dirty cop bugged me for a long time. To be honest, I’m not even sure why. It just did, but I got over it with time. I haven’t even thought about it until I went to write this. Another example (and this one is really personal), involves Superiority Complex. A friend of mine bought a copy of it, an actual physical copy, which was cool, they didn’t have too, and I saw it on their shelf. I took it down, amazed to see it there. I asked if they liked it, and they said they did; they liked the characters and the setting. So, I flipped through it, because that’s what I do with books (I like how the pages sound) and see all these pen marks all over the pages. Apparently, as they were reading they edited out spelling mistakes and some grammar things I missed (and it seemed there was a lot of them). At the time, I was very upset and embarrassed. I was upset because I don’t write in books, and here was a copy of mine scribbled in. I was embarrassed because this is out there online and in hard copy. It was a shock to me that my friend had done this. Why couldn’t they just read the book and liked it? Why had they taken a shot at me? Of course, they didn’t, but that’s how I felt at the time.
(I know they read the blog, so excuse me for a moment. I’m fine now. I actually find it funny.)
There’s a separate point to be made here about self-publishing not having the same support structure as mainstream publishing, but I’ll leave it for now.
I’m going to keep going, and these next ones are pretty cool. Keep reading.
I used to go to conventions before life got in the way, and money, and at one convention a group of guys came over to the table. These were teen guys. I wasn’t expecting them to buy anything, just because I was selling novels at a comic convention. But they came over, and I like talking to people, so I talked to them. As they were looking over my books, they asked if I was the same Samuel Eden that wrote Snowfall. I said I was and asked them if they’d read it. They said their friend read it and liked it so much they made them read it. Then they asked for my autograph. It was the first time that I’d ever met fans. It was really fun finding out I had some. The last example (yes, we’re getting to the end), also comes from a convention. I was at a local con, and this girl (also in her teens) came up to my table, her mother and brother in tow. She asked me if I was the author of the books I was selling, and I, of course, said yes. She proceeded to talk to me for half an hour (?), an hour (?), a while. We talked about writing, we talked about her writing, and the need to write, places to get published (there are a lot if you’re a teen—check the sidebar for one such place), and how to find more. Before she left, she gave me a hug. I guess I must have helped her. I’m glad I did. Now, she didn’t know me before she came to my table, but me putting myself out there as a writer made it possible for me to meet her. So it counts!
Here’s the point of today’s blog. When you put yourself out there, yes, you’re going to have some bad experiences (relatively speaking), but if you don’t put yourself out there then you don’t get the good experiences either. I vote for putting yourself out there. I hope you do too.
Until next time: Be you, be well. Write you, write well.