Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Writers' Commandment Number Four

I've been struggling to make progress on the various projects I piled onto my plate all at the same time. And progress has been made, just not as much as I had hoped. But I have managed to think through my next couple of "commandments".

Here is Number Four.

Thou shalt not obsess over the negative response thou receives in regards to thy writing.

This means exactly what it sounds like it means. Let the bad stuff roll off like water off a duck's back.

I know that a lot of us *cough* me *cough* are very attached to what we write. And that's the way it should be. If you're not attached to what you're writing then you probably shouldn't be trying to write it. But the practical truth of being a writer seeking publication is this: there are people out there who will not like what you have written. There are even people out there who will hate what you've written.

That sucks. But here's the thing, if you get all bruised and emotional over every negative remark to come your way, you'll just spend all your time angsting over why nobody likes your brilliant novel. Trust me. I've been there. In fact, I've been there far more recently than I would like to admit.

It is natural to want everyone to love what you write. But it's not going to happen.

Your time (my time) is best spent working on the things you can control in regard to whatever you're writing. Learning how to pace a story, develop characters, build worlds - those are all things you can control. Even the more mundane things like studying how to properly use a comma (don't ask me - by the way - the little buggers are the bane of my existence), vary sentence structure and knowing when to use affect/effect.

These things are what make up the craft of writing fiction. If you practice them, you'll get better at them. The better you get the fewer rejections you'll receive. The less negativity you (and I) will have coming back to us and the more love for our project (which we all know richly deserves it).

If someone is giving your story the brush-off, just let it go. (Yeah, I know. It sounds so easy when I write it.) Nothing good comes of hanging on to the crap people try and throw at you. Let it go, practice your skills and move on.

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