27 August 2012
What To Tell Yourself When You Get a Bad Review
So, about 12 hours after I self published my short story, I received an extremely negative review. It was a review I was very glad to be at work reading (I'd rather not explain tears to my coworkers).
And while I was coaching myself to not cry, I kept telling myself one thing that I wanted to share with my fellow writers.
For those of us who are out there, trying to get our work read, critiqued, reviewed, published or even if you are just at the simple state of needing to get your thoughts and ideas down on paper, remember this:
You are one of the few people in this world who are expressing yourself and putting your creative self out on display for the world to see. No it may not be perfect. It may never be perfect. You may get a sea of negative reviews that often times cut very deep. And you may cry. You may even cry in the face of the critic who have the best of intentions.
But if you have ever spoken to a person that does not consider themselves creative, you are something of a marvel. You are creating. Have you ever thought of what exactly it is you do? You create scenes that are coming just from you. You write characters and create worlds that come straight from your very own mind. How many people get to create something from their imagination?
There may be millions of writers dreaming to be published and even millions more already published, but there are many more people out there that don't consider themselves creative in any way. And what a gift it is to be one of the ones who are creative and are expressing that creativity. To be one of those putting that creativity out there and actually allowing that creativity to be analyzed, critiqued, shredded, and pulled apart. How brave is that?
And you know what? I am glad I self published my short story before I read this review. I needed to let this story go. I had spent ten years writing it and rewriting it. I was done with it and couldn't rewrite another word. I wanted it to have a home. It's home may not be the glorious mansion of a literary magazine. It's home is more of a dilapated studio apartment that is called the "home of self-published stories read by very few." But I gave it a home. And to me, that matters.
And I now understand with an even greater depth why people do go the route of self publishing. You know why? Because it is extremely satisfying. I can now move on from this story. I may never have more than just a handful read it and if I'm lucky, maybe someone will review it in a way that is a tad less harsh than the review I received this morning. But at the end of the day, my story has a home. And isn't that what we all really want for our stories?
And whether I will do the same for my current fantasy novel is something I will have to see when it is done.
But for now, as I lick the wounds of rejection that I know so well, I will tell myself the little speech I told you guys. I create. You create. And that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.