When I set out on my writing journey I had only one goal. To have a novel published by a publisher. A personal challenge I set myself even though I knew I had a lot to learn. Dyslexic and poorly educated meant I had a mountain before me, but I was ready for it. Added to this the lack of money for creative writing courses, I taught myself from second-hand books bought off eBay.
Due to my lack of confidence, I’ve never wanted to stand out in a crowd, to take centre stage, though I’ve always admired others who have the confidence to shine. Stepping outside my comfort zone and meeting my fears head on has been the making of me, to uses a well-worn cliché. Like all artists whether you’re a wordsmith, a painter or performer we all bear our souls. This leaves us open for criticism, but it must always be remembered, it is easy for others to criticise than it is for them to be creative. Reading is all down to personal taste, just like food and clothes. The hardest critics are some other writers. The trouble with being a writer/reader it’s not always easy to switch off the writing side of your brain and just reading for pleasure. I know when I first started writing, I found it difficult to just read a book.
After years of rejections, editing and rewriting I found a publisher for my third unpublished novel. Though it was an exciting time it was scary too as it meant letting go of the manuscript. During the time I have been writing to be published I’ve grown a thick skin and have a huge collection of rejected work. This isn’t a bad thing for two reasons. 1) it shows you’ve been trying 2) You’ve a body of work that you can edit, and resubmit to writing competitions and submission call -outs.
The most terrifying thing for me has been waiting for the first reviews to come in. My head was full of questions. Would the readers fully understand the deeper layers of Stone Angels, or would they only scratch the surface. When writing James Ravencroft’s tale, I was constantly checking the many layers of the book. Up until yesterday, most of the readers understood the deeper story told within the pages of Stone Angels, but the inevitable happened. I had prepared myself for this occasion. After 28 reviews the lone star ⭐ finally appeared, but to my disappointment, of course, with no explanation.
A lone star so hated by all authors brought an end to my fears and worries. The waiting, maybe longing for it, is now over and it means I can now move forwards with my writing.
Remember to always be kind to yourself, and most importantly to others. Writing, to be published, isn’t a competition. If a fellow writer asks for your honest opinion think carefully and step into their shoes before tearing their work apart. Ask yourself, are you the best person to hand out advice. You might be a writer too, but you’re not an editor or copyeditor as you need training for this. I self-edit as all writers do, but we need an editor before our MS is ready to be published. As a reader when reviewing a published book, do it with a reader’s head and not a writer editing someone’s work. Give your honest opinion, but before posting your review ask yourself, is it the kind of review you would be happy to receive?
There are two kinds of honesty in the world, Fair, and brutal if your review is brutal, maybe you should email the author and tell them. If you can’t do that then, don’t post it on the net. Unless you’re willing to put your name to it you should keep your opinions to yourself.
That’s my thoughts for today. I’m off to finish editing a story.