Saturday, 19 January 2013

I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage...

I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has just put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or banana split.
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

Well it happened- I received a scathing review. A one star rant about just how terrible the reviewer felt GT was!  I can't say it didn't sting – it did. ‘Take it down’ H said especially when you are sending Bittersweet to publishers. – I laughed- 1) I don’t know if you can do this 2) Why would I? She paid her money – she took the time to read it she deserves to give her opinion. And 3) what is the point of reviews if you are selective- it makes reviews pointless.

In a way I am relieved with the bad review- I mean it was only a matter of time. At first I thought 1) Arghhh should I just delete the book from existence and bury it deep? 2) is this the start of things to come?  I hope not. 3) should I give up on writing?

Is this what celebs feel when they see a horrible story in the papers about them – did Posh Spice feel like this when she was slated about her singing. Of course it is not on the same scale but I can now see their hurt. I suppose this is why they say don’t tweet something to a celeb you wouldn't say to their faces- it’s true.

Perhaps its my fault for looking at the reviews!

But after I have had time to mull it all over I compose myself. Of course I am not going to stop writing. After all it has received 15 good reviews and only 1 bad 2) White Tiger (my fave book of all time) has some bad reviews- reviews I was shocked to read- I was thinking how can someone criticize this book when it is absolutely amazing 3) I have always believed it is better to try and fail than not try at all- in my eyes GT is a success due to the number of copies sold so even if its all doom and gloom from this point on- At least I gave it a go. 4) I now feel I can call myself an author- is this my way of making myself feel better? Sour grapes and all that - if that is the right expression. I don’t know but surely if you have had praise and criticism it is a good thing… it makes you well rounded…. You have earned the title of author. However, this doesn’t really make sense because your writing may be amazing and you may never get a bad review in your life- you are still worthy (more than worthy of being called an author) –again maybe its just be being bitter!

Anyway rant over – I am currently reading Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah and it is amazing – Always in awe of her writing– when I know I will never be as good as her I wonder whether it’s all worth it- so I guess the timing of the review was another little jab when I was doubting my writing.

Head up and carry on I say. And a final note- I do not (totally) believe in the quote I have attached. I was looking for a quote (ironically it was the first on the page- I thought perhaps it was a sign so I put it up!!!!)

I remember reading an article recently about what to do if you get a bad review – I’ll share just in case you are in the same boat as me. Apparently some authors try and contact the reviewer find out what they didn't like…give them their money back (we are so soft – us authors- aren't we?) well apparently and I am sure you know this it is a no-no- never engage in dialogue and never react - if you do some people quite like this and will criticize you even more – so as this is the first bad review I thought I would share - after all I have shared the highs- time to share the lows – I wont be writing about any more bad reviews though taking heed on the above piece of advice I have just regurgitated! – Just move on – which is what I’ll be doing!

So self-pubbers out there- be warned this is a pitfall of writing without a publishing house/agent behind you – you will feel crappy and wonder why you bothered and seriously doubt your writing when you get a bad review but you have to put it behind you (remember you cant please everyone) !!!!!!!! Persistence…….

Monday, 7 January 2013

Writing is the only profession...

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
- Jules Renard
So the year has properly started – if you were fortunate not to go back to work last week - I am sure you are back now. And it’s difficult isn’t it? Working, getting rid of the festive fat and writing. You kind of look at the year ahead and if you are not in the right frame of mind you think: arghhhh another year to get through. Gosh that is so pessimistic – I must be suffering from SAD! Well I admit I felt like that on my first day of work when I thought – another year of trying to fit everything in. But then I went to creative meditation (see last post) and I discovered that it doesn’t always have to be go, go, go. I am making space for Calm!  I am also creating space in my life to achieve the things that I want to do. It’s all about the ‘just being’ and not about the ‘do, do, doing’. So in my last post I wrote out a list of things I want to achieve this year and today as I started thinking about these things I thought what can I share that has helped me improve my writing. Trust me my writing has come a long way since GT – you will see when I publish The Bittersweet Vine. But if you are looking to improve your writing (maybe that’s on your list of things to do this year) here is what I have done and I continue to do:

1) Read books of the genre you are writing. It’s inspirational and you can see what you like to read, the style etc. Of course you will have your own style but you should definitely write what you like to read.
2) Read books/articles about writing. For example Google the ten best writing blogs. Sign up for their newsletters and get their free e-book on some aspect of writing. There are some good ones out there- just click on the on-line resources label on this blog for some good recommendations.
3) Improve your knowledge. Yes Google is great on checking information but you cant beat a good reference book. If you are writing about murder etc – go and get a copy of forensics for dummies- unless you are a CSI.
4) Write…. Short stories, new novels, free writing (basically any words that come in to your head)
5) Observe. I only found this out at the end of 2012 – but keeping an observation, sights, sounds, smells book is a must for any writer. Because even if you have a great memory - just write feelings/observations down- you never know when you need to dip into the book!!! Do it
6) Pay-it-forward – I was overwhelmed by the number of people that bought GT when I first published it. So buy something one of your friends are selling- its tough out there and we all need a little help- it will come back to you. And if none of your friends are setting up businesses support local! Yes use the corner shop, visit the local butcher etc
7) And finally… and I say this whilst hanging my head in shame… brush up on your grammar. Yes this goes against everything I said two years ago but life is a journey, okay, and sometimes you learn along the way. I have learnt the hard way – that grammar is important. Yes I was ignorant to begin with but at least I found out. And it is never too late to learn something new.

So you probably know the above! If you don’t then yay for me because I hope with this blog I am helping writers… and another thing if you are thinking about writing…blog!!!! Just do it. It is liberating and you learn a lot along the way. Happy January everybody…. This year won’t be another slog because this year I know more than I did last year and I am learning to ‘just be’… this year is going to be a good year!

Friday, 4 January 2013

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer...

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.

- Eugene Ionesco

Happy New Year. Three days of work and I feel that Christmas is a distant memory. So I must share my recent revelations and my goals for 2013 with you. Yesterday I went to creative meditation. I always find, when I go to this class, I feel like a new person after. The meditation was all about creating space in your life for something new- something you want or even for something unexpected. I want calm. I don’t want to be rushing around like a Dodo all the time. I want  time to stop and observe (good for my observations book- which is not going well- although I wrote some great feelings down when I was dying from Influenza- it really felt like I was). I also want more colour in my life.  Look at my profile pic (I know it is in black and white) but that is pretty much me- all about the dark colours. I strongly believe that colour can have an effect on your life. I am even going to get involved with colour therapy. This info about colour has just arrived in my mind- a bit like a light bulb being switched on! I will keep you posted and let you know if it has any effect on my writing. If it has an effect on my outlook on life I am sure this, in some way, will affect my writing. Speaking of affect and effect I must sign up to that grammar course. Well the credit card is a bit jam packed at the moment so I am going to join mid Jan!.

Also I have started reading Forensics for Dummies. This looks like a great book and will definitely help me improve my CSI knowledge for Chupplejeep. So my goals for 2013  are:

1) Get Bittersweet Published (either traditional or self published)
2) Self publish a book of short stories on to kindle – by April
3) Finish first draft of The Coconut Tree (by April- this is a hangover from a goal I didn't complete last year) - complete novel by the end of the year.
4) Read up on colour therapy and use it to improve certain aspects of your life.
5) complete grammar course and take time to proof read (starting with this blog!)
6) achieve over 1000 sales for GT

I am looking forward to this year. I don't feel I accomplished much last year in terms of writing. I know I found and agent and completed The Bittersweet Vine as well as hitting my sales targets for GT but I do feel something was lacking. I am not going to be so hard on myself this year either. Sometimes it is about the journey and the things you learn on the way. I want to take time with Chupplejeep and that's exactly what I'll do!

Good luck with all your writing goals and dreams. They are achievable - just keep believing in yourself.