Monday, August 10, 2009

frozen and lost

Unfortunately this isn't a happy post. I wish I could come up with something witty to make you all smile and laugh, but today I'm just not feeling it. I've been suffering lately from a serious lack of self-confidence in relation to my writing. I've had moments in the past where I've been down. Moments where I wondered why I bothered to keep plugging away.

However, this isn't like those other times.

Here at TWW we've chatted about negative reviews and their overall impact, but this isn't about that. This is about negative reader feedback. A bad review is one person's opinion of your work. We can (eventually) move past those. It's not the end of the world, blah, blah. But when you get feedback from readers it means SO much. Authors take those comments to heart. We LOVE LOVE hearing from readers because it means people are reading our books and that's a good feeling. Even if the feedback is negative we still appreciate the fact that this person spent money on our books AND took the time to email the author. Feedback can help because it lets us know what readers are thinking.

But when you get into a situation where you feel as if you're being lynched by a mob of angry women it's a very uncomfortable feeling. Your stomach knots up and you feel like someone just kicked your puppy. Authors put their heart and soul into a story. There's no other way to explain it. We're passionate about what we do. We FEEL for each character. For us they're real. When someone tears it all apart it's as if someone just threw mud all over the Mona Lisa. A shock wave goes through us and we freeze up. It's truly debilitating.

For those of you about to say 'grow a thicker skin'. I hear you. I really do hear you. Most likely the next time this happens I'll be a little less affected. It'll get easier because I'll know what to expect. I won't ever be blind-sided again. But for now, I'm trying to lift myself up and get back in the game. I will because there's no other choice. This won't stop me from writing. This isn't the end.

Nevertheless, for today, for right this moment, I'm feeling very wounded. The saying 'this too shall pass' is a constant refrain in my head. Thankfully, I have friends to lean on. They've let me complain and they've offered their hugs and encouragement. What would we do without friends, right?

With all that said, I do still believe in freedom of speech. These ladies have every right to say what they think. Good, bad or downright ugly, it's their prerogative to speak out. I guess I just need to learn to turn the other cheek. Um, yeah, I'm still working on that. LOL


Regina Carlysle said...

There is no excuse for downright meanness! I still believe these were readers expecting romance and not erotica. They are two diffent genres all together. And please please keep in mind for every one reader who doesn't like something, there are dozens who DO.

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks for the hugs, Regina!

And I think you're right about the erotica vs romance. My head is trying to see things logically, but my WIP is still just collecting dust. Sucks.

I've actually been re-reading my stories and second guessing like everything! The best medicine right now is to write and get my mind off it, but that's not been working this time around.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Regina which is why I stressed that it's NOT a romance in my review for ya Anne. Readers have GOT to start understanding that not ALL erotica is romantic. Just like romance is not always erotic, you can have one without the other.

I've personally read everything you've written and if I thought something was bad, I wouldn't be begging for your books. Also, if you weren't an amazing writer, you wouldn't be working for the publishers you do. They don't take writers who aren't up to snuff right?

My advice would be to ignore it. Seriously. Just simply ignore it. You are too good of a person, friend, mother, wife and woman to allow that stuff to ruin who you are. Those readers didn't read the blurbs, they didn't go to the publisher and look at the genre and that's on them. The book was amazing and that's that. LOL There's my piece. Sorry for rambling

Julie Robinson said...

Awwww, Anne. I feel for you. Regina is so right in everything she says! Most people are their own worst critic, and some days are worse than others. This must be one of them. And I can say that I have very thin skin---which is probably why I'm not published. I know I need to grow a thicker skin---at least as thick as yours.

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks, Amanda. I really am trying to ignore it. The good thing about all this is that I'm learning how to handle this if it should happen again. Like for one, don't go to amazon...ever. LOL

Thanks, Julie. I'm usually pretty good at letting things slide. I wasn't always so good at it though, I admit. A few rejection letters cured me.

These days I write what's in my heart and hope it works. This time it got to me. Next time, I'm gonna be armed! LOL

Kelley Nyrae said...

Hugs, Anne. I'm with everyone else. I do believe they weren't erotic readers but straight romance. I know its still hard though. Keep plugging because you're a FANTASTIC writer. Love ya!

Barb said...

Anne, just let it roll right off ya! I love your writing and there are alot of others out there who do too. Regina is exactly right about erotica and erotic romance.

Bella said...

Anne - that sux! Sorry! People who write mean reviews are horrible! I mean, at least be constructive! People who write mean reviews about *your* work are not just horrible, they're stupid! We know, because we love your work!

All the cliches are true - hang touch and ignore it -- but time and space and writing the next story, are the best ways to move on!


Leigh Court said...

I know only too well how a bad review can hurt an author.

Sending you a cyber hug!


Connie Northrop said...

Like Regina said, there is no excuse for treating people badly!

You have a lot of friends and a lot of fans.

Hang in there.

Titania Ladley said...

Here here now, waving my warming wand over you and showing you the way to the chocolate stash. Got coffee, too, and a hunk on standby. *g* Just offering up the solutions I use for the same thing. Big smoochies, babe! You. Are. An. Awesome. Writer!!!


Larissa Ione said...

You know, I can't stand it when people say to "grow a thicker skin." Why? Because they never say HOW to do it. You can't. You can't just pretend that something hasn't hurt you or hasn't bothered you.

You WILL grow a thicker skin, but it doesn't happen overnight, and it means getting a lot more bad email and bad reviews. And it sucks.

But in the meantime, (while you're waiting for all those fun bad reviews,) take care of yourself, TRY to remember that the one person's opinion means nothing compared to the many who DO like your work, and take a couple of days off from writing and the internet. I always spend a good day offline and out shopping or eating at a nice restaurant or at the beach...anything to kind of put things back in perspective.

Which is that the world is full of much more than one idiot (it's full of lots of idiots, but that's not the point. *g*)


Anne Rainey said...

Thanks, Kelley! Love you, too! I'd be lost without you!

Barb--Thanks so much for the words. I'm going to see if I can't get past this writing block today. Wish me luck!

Anne Rainey said...

Bella--(I love that name, btw) Thanks so much for commenting on this. It feels good to hear someone say 'we love your work'. That's the best medicine, I swear!

Leigh--It's times like this when I wish I had like a short term memory or something. Ugh! Thanks for chimming in! :)

Anne Rainey said...

Connie--Thanks SO much. You know, I debated about bringing this issue to the blog. I worried that it would come across like a pity party. But, the truth is, I think it's good to talk about the downside to publishing.

It's not all roses and sunshine. Like any job, there are bound to days when you just wish you could win the lotto and move to Hawaii!

Anne Rainey said...

Titania--A hunk? Now THAT made me smile! hehe! Thanks, lady!

Anne Rainey said...

Larissa--I have to say, you nailed it. I really REALLY hate when people say 'grow a thicker skin. As if I'm just too sensitive or something. That's so annoying to me. If I were sensitive I'd come online and complain about EVERY negative review. I don't. Most times I can let these things ride. I've gotten rejection letters from publishers and agents and still I was able to let it ride. To see the positive.

Reader feedback is not so easy to ignore though. It's like being on stage and trying to sing, then everyone stars booing. The very people you were trying to entertain just turned on you. That's a hard thing to ignore.

Taking time away...yeah, that might just be what I need to get past this. Taking time away from the net esp. and forcing myself NOT to keep looking at those negative reviews!

Thanks for the tip!