Monday, March 1, 2010

drop kicking the muse

So, this morning I was all excited to dig into my latest WIP. Had a fresh cup of coffee, had already eaten my eggs and turkey bacon. All that was left was for me to sit down at the computer and start typing. Instead, I decided to browse the net. I shouldn't have. I really really shouldn't have. I should've taken a note from Shannon McKenna's book and kept my eyes glued to my story. She--I've heard this from other authors too--doesn't read reviews and comments. A lot of authors feel it kills their muse. It's stressful. The good reviews make you feel as if you have a lot to live up to. The bad reviews can simply suck the fun right out of writing. Not reading it seems like it would free the writer up to do whatever their muse is telling them to do. Smart approach.

I'm not very smart it would seem. LOL I browsed and I came across a negative comment about one of my stories. Now, this isn't a cry baby post about how mean people can be and all that jazz. And I'm not going to bitch about the person who wrote the comment. Everyone, and I DO mean everyone, has a right to their own opinion. I'd be such a hypocrite if I expected everyone to talk only when they're in a good mood. To comment or write about ONLY the good books, movies, T.V. shows they've read and watched. I know that I can be just as negative as the next person! Just ask my husband. LOL

So why bring this up now? I'm curious what YOU do when you come across something negative that kills your muse. Maybe it's a rejection letter from an agent or editor. Maybe it's a bad review about one of your books. Maybe it's just your best friend saying your books suck raw eggs! All of it can leave us feeling defeated. Yes, defeated. That's the only word that describes that feeling in our gut that makes us--even for a few seconds--want to hang up our pen and never write another damn word.

In the end, what do we do? We write. Not because we got over our hurt, but because it's what we do. A puppy chews couches. A child giggles when tickled. A teenager texts 24/7. A writer writes. Still, I'm looking for a new approach here. What do you do when you feel as if you've been kicked in the gut? How do you make yourself MOVE ON?


Catherine said...

My first rejection letter from an agent made me feel sick to my stomach. Well, actually, the first hundred. :-) Same thing with bad reviews, though, thankfully, I haven't had many of those. I'm not sure when, or how, but eventually I became able to ignore all of it. I think I developed enough trust in my writing skills that I don't care anymore. I write to the best of my ability. I write what I ENJOY writing. I can't stop writing, so I write.

*shrug* This might seem simple and not very helpful, but it's the only answer I can come up with.

Have a great day,

Charisma Knight said...

You shouldn't allow what others say about your writing to affect your craft. I think having a thick skin helps too.

Everyone has different opinions. I think books may affect people differently. It may be something that happened to them in their life and it may not mesh well with whatever the situation is regarding the hero or heroine.

I don't want to turn a blind eye to what is said about my writing, but I refuse to let anything prevent me from continuing. We all had to start somewhere, and in this craft the longer we are in it, the better we become.

Writing is personal, it is our feelings from within. Sometimes people may not read the book thoroughly and only skim the pages. Some folks may be having a bad day. Sometimes, perhaps they don't agree as to how the heroine may be treated, it could be a variety of things.

As I said in the email to you, try some meditation techniques. They work. You may even want to do a little cardio kick-boxing, because it releases negative energy, trust me. Also, treat yourself to that special something you've been wanting for quite some time. Be good to yourself and your muse will return.

As far as rejections, I've had plenty. Briefly, it made me think "what the hell am I doing?" I shrugged it off and kept on trucking.

I hope this helps.


Rosemary Gunn said...

"I think I developed enough trust in my writing skills that I don't care anymore. I write to the best of my ability. I write what I ENJOY writing. I can't stop writing, so I write." Catherine, these words were like a headslap for me ... in an NCIS good way! Thank you.

Paul McDermott said...

This might sound crazy, and certainly wouldn't work for everyone, but ...
I never have LESS THAN three or four WiPs "on the go" at any given time.
Problems with one of them: solution, take one of "the others" - generally I'll force myself to opt for the one which I know is historically longest away (ie. since last time I added to it).
There's a great advantage in having schizophrenic tendencies, sometimes ... :)

Elizabeth Black said...

I agree with not reading reviews or comments. When I write sex articles I tend to attract trolls (like most sex writers do), and I NEVER read the comments because they make me nervous. While I do like reviews, I don't let bad reviews get to me. Everyone has an opinion and maybe my style of writing doesn't appeal to that particular person.

I start my morning reading e-mail and drinking coffee and then I get down to the business of writing. Otherwise, it's too easy to surf the web when I should be creating new worlds. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. I can procrastinate with the best of them. ;)

Regina Carlysle said...

I think we never really get used to rejection whether it's in the form of a rejection from an agent/publisher or a bad review. Bad before I was published those big fat R's just devestated me. Almost to the point I quit submitting. I continued to write like crazy (and hopefully getting better) but I became just paralyzed by rejection. These days I'm pretty tough about stuff that comes in the form of the occasional bad review. I hadn't gotten one of those in a long time until just recently. I just kinda sighed over it. Obviously it wasn't his cuppa tea! A few minutes later I opened a file and forgot about that one opinion.

And yes, I've heard keeping several wips ready to work on is a good thing. Lately, I'll write something in a completely different genre. That works too.

Great post, Anne!

Greta said...

I still hate hate HATE rejection. I always will. But I have accepted it as part of my career. When I receive bad news, I crank up my music and sing very loudly and very badly. It makes me feel better and I can get back to work.


Anne Rainey said...

trust in my writing skills that I don't care anymore

Catherine--That's what I lack. Trust in my own writing skills! I need to build that up!

Charisma--I love the meditation/yoga idea. (just emailed you back, btw) And I'm going to give that a try! Thanks for the tip!

Anne Rainey said...

Rosemary--They were for me too. I think I'm going to print Catherine's reply and tap it to my wall!!

Paul--I never write more than one story at a time. BUT I may try to write two. I have two I need to finish by April and today will be the first day that I actually WRITE in both WIPs. Wish me luck!

Anne Rainey said...

Elizabeth--I get distracted too easily. You're write, it's too easy to surf. Pretty soon, two hours have passed and what have I actually DONE? Ugh!

Regina--A different genre? Not a bad idea. I may try that!

Anne Rainey said...

Greta--Dancing and singing, now youre speaking my language!! I can so do that! AND you're burning caloires to boot!

Btw, I can't sing either. LOL

Catherine said...

LOL. Rosemary, I love NCIS, so I know exactly what you're talking about. I'm glad I could provide a cyber-headslap.