Author’s Note: Another first Wednesday of the month, another post for The Insecure
Writer’s Support Group. Be sure to check out the many other writers participating in this blog hop. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for leading the IWSG.
As writers, as artists, as creators, we put our work out there for public consumption. Whether it’s one person who reads it, or thousands (we hope!) who read your new short story published at New Millenium Writings (okay, I’ll stop dreaming now…), you’re putting your work out there, for people to enjoy, to digest, to appreciate.
Some people will not like your work. And will not hesitate to tell the rest of the Internet that your writing sucks.
I got some bad reviews for my blog collection, Out Where the Buses Don’t Run: Seven Years of Rants, Raves, Dirty Jokes and Bad Ideas From a Small But Loud Corner of the Blogosphere. I knew my brand of humor essay wasn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I went ahead with self-publishing my collection nonetheless. It’s one thing to win the praise of friends and family, it’s another to win the praise of complete strangers. Still, getting some bad reviews stung, especially when the reviews seemed so far off the mark. One reviewer criticized me for my “stories” having no form, no plot, and bad characters.
You have to resist the temptation to lash back at your critics. I mean, screw ‘em, what do they know, right?
(Yeah, here I go again quoting sources of inspiration from unlikely sources of inspiration. See: Bourdain, Anthony)
When asked about the creative process, Homme pointed out that no matter what he does, he’s never going to be able to please everyone, and anyone who aspires to please everyone is running a fool’s errand. To take that one step further, he addressed some of the criticism he’s received in the past:
“I work and I work until I’m 100% satisfied that what I’ve done is the best work I’ve done, and once I’m done with that, there’s nothing I can do to control whether people like it or not. If they like it or love it, that’s great. If not, then the CD makes for a nice drink coaster.”
What Josh Homme said can also be applied to writing. Write to the very best of your abilities, exceed them, even. Write knowing that the short story or novel or poem you’ve written has been written to meet your high standards (that is, assuming you have high standards, and you’re not one of those waterheads who thinks it’s perfectly fine to just write something you’ve just pulled out of your ass as a first draft and throw it up there, without a single edit, on self-publishing platforms like CreateSpace or SmashWords…), and no one but you will know what you’ve undertaken to create what you’ve created.
Yes, we all want our work to be appreciated, but, face it, that’s not going to happen. Just like we’re going to get rejected by agents and publishers, we’re also going to get rejected by reviewers. So be it. You wrote the best book you could write. If a book reviewer doesn’t like your novel and posts a review somewhere, that’s their right. But that reviewer isn’t going to take away from you what makes you a writer. Their bad review doesn’t make you a bad writer. Far from it. You wrote the best you could, and you’re probably writing something even better as we speak. Keep at it.
And just like that person who disliked the new Queens of the Stone Age album – and, really, who is that idiot? …Like Clockwork is amazing – has been encouraged to turn that CD into a nice new drink coaster, I invite that person who gave my book a bad review to make some nice artwork out of my book. Or donate the book to a friend or to their local public library.