Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Another Funk!?!

:::Insert picture of hair pulling here:::
You write and write, you get criticism, you revise, you write some more, you get more positive critiques, you revise again, you get even MORE positive critiques and are assured your story even has FANS waiting anxiously for the next chapter...
You submit the first chapter and a query letter to someone involved in the publishing industry for critique, they give you some interesting suggestions, some you agree with, some you might agree with tomorrow, some you might never, and while they think your writing is okay, you may have to write a few more novels before you get anywhere...
As writers, we KNOW this happens. We hear about it every day. We EXPECT it to happen to us. But when it does, it's a kick backwards. You tug at your hair, you picture yourself pursuing an alternate career, remind yourself that you don't want to, and go buy a couple of lottery tickets for the off-chance you win millions, can quite your job, and actually spend the amount of time necessary on writing that it will take to get published.
It's just frustrating when you think your writing is really getting strong, only to be told you have a long way to to go. But, it was only one person, and I need to treat it like I do any critique. Look at it seriously, understand why certain things were pointed out, and figure out which changes to make for the story to be as solid as possible.
And as agent Kristin Nelson said on her blog today, "Just remember that no matter how an agent responds to your pages today, this is not the make or break moment of your career. The greatest thing about writing is that you can grow and mature in your ability."
I really want to be that writer that's undeterred by harsh criticisms... I really do. And I think on the whole, I am. But the initial blow does make me lose my footing for a day or two (and pout).
What about you? Have any of you been met with the fangs of the forces that be?
Did you abandon your project to work on something else, or channel that adversity into becoming a revising machine?!

14 comments:

  1. Well as you know I'm still on my current WIP and I'm still going strong, it happened to be the first that I actually made more than 20,000 words and I'm feeling pretty good about it. Granted first draft only, but I'm focusing on the positives, because the hard part has yet to come. I pray that I'm strong enough to handle the occassional blow to the ego... guess we'll find out!

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  2. I've submitted to literary magazines short stories that weren't accepted, and it feels like a shoe to the gut every time. In the moment, I'm consumed with doubts that I have what it takes to be published. But once the dust settles and I've allowed myself a pity party (necessary before you're ready to move forward again!), my old attitude sweeps in to soothe me like an ocean breeze rocks a hammock. I write because I love to, and that love will eventually produce work that someone believes they can sell.

    That love will keep you writing too. And you'll sell your work. I know you will!

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  3. yeah it's always tough when you get those crits. But they always always make us better writers, even if we don't agree with them. At the least, they help harden the skin a bit.
    And then good things happen and things are wonderful and great!

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  4. Pout for five minutes then get back up on that horse!

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  5. It's a grieving process. I always have a few hours or days where I let myself throw a hissy fit. But like Nicole said, the will to write comes back because we love it. Definitely remember that it's one person's OPINION. Another person in the industry might be wowed by it.

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  6. Don't let it get you down.
    We've all been there. And no matter how many times we get great feedback, all it takes is one bad one to send us into depression.

    Take the comments, dust yourself off, and try to knock 'em dead the next time around. :) You can do it!

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  7. It's tough, but you can do it! Believe when I say, " I won't let you quit!" Muahahah. Don't you just love me? : D

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  8. I do the pout and then get back up. Over the years, my recovery time has definitely gotten shorter.

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  9. I entered a contest and was basically told that if I were published, I would be corrupting the youth of America. (I write YA.) It made me stop and freak out about how I was writing my MC, but then I realized that the judge just didn't get me or my writing. He judged my theme on 15 pages.

    So sometimes, you have to remember that you know your writing better than other people do.

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  10. Initially, severe criticism can make me want to crawl into a ball and give up completely. But in the end, constructive critiques have only bettered my writing and made me stronger.

    Always keep in mind, what one person doesn't care for, another will love.

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  11. You're in this for the long haul and one set-back won't keep you down. Embrace it, learn from it, realize that its just one persons opinion, and continue to move forward!

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  12. I do think writing is a long process. As frustrating as it is to keep revising or creating new (hopefully better) stories (well, that part is fun), the end result will be that much more satisfying. I am doing a major overhaul on my current ms with an agent's suggestions. I dread it a little, but I am excited on seeing what the end result will be!

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  13. Thanks for sharing! I'm trying to get the nerve to query after this round of revisions. I know I won't really be prepared for it, but I tell myself it helps to read how others have survived. :)

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  14. Eh, I live in a small country but here in my publishing house we still get tens and hundreds of manuscripts of hopeful writers. 99% of the things we receive are really bad. I can imagine how many novels and query letters publishers in USA get every day. When you are swamped with such amount of bad work, it's really hard to spot the occasional pearl and diamond among the whole crap pile.
    But then again, I've seen so many bad books being published and even scoring success in bookstores, so I really don't see the criteria any more.
    I guess, if you really believe in your work, you just have to fight for it as long as you live. If there's even a slightest doubt in you about the quality of your work, you must find a lot of objective, non biased early readers who will really give you the real opinion, and possibly good advice for changing what's wrong.

    I basically think that there's a publisher and a reader for every book, be it a bad or a good one. The quality obviously doesn't play a role in the whole game, you just have to hit the right publisher.

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