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Without shining a light on the issues that gave me the idea for this post, I learned early on that my writing is not going to be right for everyone. I also know that some people will love some things I write and hate other things I write. It’s just the way it is.
Once I write something, and have it vetted by beta readers, agents, acquisitions editors and editors…it’s out of my hands. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader like it. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader not like it. Whatever they feel about my work is up to them. What I do is present my best effort, made better by those who helped the piece make its way to the marketplace. After that, it becomes something that is entirely and emphatically out of my hands.
I read reviews. I know that some authors say they don’t read reviews…and that others should do the same and avoid them at all costs. But I do read them. Every single one I come across. I listen to what the reviewer has to say. Sometimes–in the majority of cases, I suppose…which makes me eternally grateful–the comments are extremely lovely. A lot of readers like the end product that I have put out there into the world. Sometimes–in enough cases that I feel the need to improve upon my work at all times–the comments are hard to read and most decidedly uncomplimentary.
I can’t write something that everyone will like. That’s impossible. That will always be impossible…for every writer.
I take the good reviews as a notion that I am doing something right…I am touching readers with my words. I take the bad reviews as a notion that I can do better. Much better. I appreciate the harsh reviews as much as I appreciate the glowing ones. I attempt to take away from them insights that will make me a better writer. I hope that they are never written with malice or as personal vendettas against me as a person. And even if they are, that is entirely the reviewer’s option. They have a right to write whatever they wish about my works. I’m only grateful that my words are being read.
I will always read my reviews. I will consider deeply whatever the reviewer is attempting to say…good or bad. And sometimes, their words will hurt me deeply. And sometimes I will get a review that will make my day, my week, my month, my year.
Ultimately, I’m responsible for my words. I own everything I ever wrote and allowed into the marketplace. And the reviewers? They’re responsible for their words. Their words are not supposed to have anything to do with me. They are free to comment on my works as they see fit to do so.
My job is to take the ideas and notions in my head, gestate them to term and give birth to them. My job, after that, is to not get offended or take it personally if someone thinks one of my babies is ugly. Someone else will eventually come along who thinks it’s a pretty baby. And someone else, again, will come along and think it’s an okay baby with some ugly defects. This is how it goes.
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life