Dear readers, you’ve been with me through the good days and bad. This day could be most aptly described as “FELRKLHGIOEH!!”
That’s the scientific term.
It began with my brain doing its normal thing, which is hating my guts for no apparent reason. “You’re kind of worthless, you know? Not a very good writer, not a very good editor, not ANY good at anything else, and nobody really cares about who you are or what you do. You’re kind of a nothing.”
Oddly, this started while watching The Godfather. “See them?” said Brain. “They have money, power, and respect, something you’ll never have.”
But…they’re vicious gangsters and half of them end up dead.
“Yeah, but at least when they die their families will be taken care of.”
Thanks, Brain. I needed that.
On Saturday, I checked my book on Goodreads. I’d been bumming about not getting any reviews, but suddenly I had one! 3/5.
Not bad, right? But you forget: my brain hates me.
“Just a 3?! Why not a 4 or 5?! My God, I really am woefully mediocre! A measly 3, no one gets excited for a 3! No one’s going to read my book ever, what do I do?!”
Are you sick of me yet? Because I’m sick of me.
Good grief, man, a 3/5 is not bad. Heck, the reviewer herself even said it was a fun read, and the flaws she pointed out were kindly-worded and sensible.
“Oh my God, her criticisms made SENSE! I’m a horrible hack of a writer! Look at all these cool ideas I could have put in there to fix it!”
You’re not going to stop until you’ve burned through your self-loathing, are you?
“Woe is me, for I am suck!”
And After That…
And then, the clencher came. I read a book as a contest judge, one put out through a traditional Christian publisher, aligned with a known, respected agent, with one of the best-known spec-fic publishers in Christian circles. A book that was edited, reviewed, and loved.
And it SUUUUCCCKKED. Inconsistent themes, a main character so insipid and stupid she was almost the villain, a hackneyed love triangle full of heated stares and…that’s it, cliched bad guys, an unsatisfying ending, and a world I never fully understood.
Yet this was what attracted the agent who rejected my work. This was what a renowned publishing company accepted. This is what readers are giving great reviews.
That’s my competition.
How do you compete with crap? What can you do when flawed garbage is held up as the standard?
Get Back Up.
Shake it off, Mike, shake it off. You do have people who like your work. That reviewer gave a 3/5 and generally liked it, which is an encouragement, not an insult. One day, someone will give you a 2/5 or a 1/5 and you’d better be ready for it. Not everyone will like your stuff or come alongside you.
And crap will always be loved. Twilight, Transformers, Sword Art Online, it’s happened before and it will happen again.
But God has your back. He never promised fame and fortune, but did call you to be a writer. So write. Keep going, keep trying. You love it too much to do otherwise.
And maybe, just maybe, write less for yourself and more for something bigger.
“WAAAAAAH, I am the living embodiment of not-good-enough, doomed to obscurity and pity reviews!”
I hate you, brain.