Monday, July 28, 2014

Why a Bad Review Makes Me Feel Like I’m PMSing or Bi-polar (Same Thing)

I never set out to write a book that I thought everyone would love and I would get all five star reviews. I mean, well yes, of course I set out to write that book, but I knew the truth: that book doesn’t exist.

The beauty of the world is that we all have different personalities and tastes. It’s what makes us different, interesting. It’s what sets us apart from each other.

So why, then, does a bad review affect me like it does? I should appreciate the review for what it is, learn from it, grow from it, become a better person because of it. Instead, I take it to heart and then I go through what I like to call the “Five Phases of Bad Reviews”.

Phase one: False-confidence. This phase is mostly filled with “I don’t need you, or your bad review” and other things such as, “I am better than your review and I know it.” In this phase, I am a confident (albeit, false) and strong woman. I can handle anything. Bring.It.On.

Phase two: Sadness. This phase actually comes quite quickly after phase one (hence the comparison to PMSing). And it includes some shedding of tears and verbalizations such as: “Why do you haaaaaate meeeee?” and “What did I dooooo to deserve thiiiiissss?”

Phase Three: Judging. In this phase, I look to criticize said reviewer even though I don’t know them from Adam. Such things come out of my mouth (or stay in my head, which is probably for the best) like: “She must be a mean and bitter person. I am sad for her.” or “They just don’t get me or my sarcastic humor. They have a sad, pitiful life”.

Phase four: Research. In the next phase I scour other reviews that this particular reviewer has done and look for comparisons. Maybe she hates chick-lit? Maybe she hates literature altogether? If I can find out why, then maybe I won’t feel so bad. This phase never works.

And finally, phase five: Acceptance. I finally make peace with the bad review and move on. So far 95% of the time people have positive things to say, whether they liked my book or not. The other 5% are the haters. I must accept that there are haters out there and be okay with it. It’s not against me personally, it’s their opinion. And they are entitled to it.

So in summary, bad reviews make me feel PMS-y/bipolar. Someday I will grow up and be able to accept and move on without going through the other phases. Or perhaps I will just stop reading my reviews altogether. I doubt either of those will happen. But I can hope. There’s always hope. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Five Biggest Distractions from Writing

I’m newer to the novel writing world. I've always been a writer of sorts, but never took myself seriously nor had the gumption to even try writing an entire book. So when I finally made myself do it (and to be perfectly honest, my initial reason for writing a novel was to prove to my type-B personality that I could, in fact, finish something), I learned things about myself. I found out that I’m a procrastinator. Okay, that wasn't news at all, but the extent of my procrastination took a whole new level when I started writing. 

The good news for me is I’m not alone. There are a plethora of articles out there about how to get off the procrastination runaway horse. Because it is a runaway horse… and one that sometimes can take forever to get back on the right path.

So here is a list of the five biggest distractions that keep me from writing (in no certain order):

1.  The plethora of articles about how to stop procrastinating. There’s nothing like reading a bunch of articles about the things you can do to stop procrastinating, to really help you procrastinate. Quite the distraction, indeed.

2.   My children. Don’t get me wrong, those snot-nose, screaming, crying, tantrum-ing little terrors, are the apple of my eye. Life would be so very dull without them. But nothing distracts me more than my three kiddos. I’ll have a fabulous idea for a story line or something a character could say and I will run to my computer or grab my phone to quickly type some notes and then someone will crap their pants and whoosh – just like that, it’s gone. Never to return to my brain again.

3.  My husband. I really do heart the guy, and he is a very supportive of my writing career. He’s always encouraging me to write and wants me to get my next book done, however he also constantly wants me to come see something funny he’s watching on TV, or read a clever article he’s just read, or rattle off who he thinks the Denver Broncos should draft. I get it, I’m his best friend and he should want to share those things with me, but it’s always when I’m supposed to be writing. Always. Case in point, he just made me step away from my computer and my writing of this article to come and look at his nose because he’s convinced it’s getting bigger. True story.

4.  Reading other books. Now, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and so when I get sucked into a book (recently it was Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid – could not put it down), I must finish it. Which means, when I’m reading, I can’t be simultaneously writing. I try, I really do. I try to use it as a treat – like I tell myself if I can write 1,000 words then I can go back to reading. But then I remember I’m a freaking adult and I tell myself to shut up and go back to reading with no writing done whatsoever. So yeah, that is a major distraction of mine.

5.  Social media. Honestly, do I even need to explain that one? It’s also an entire-life distraction, if I’m being honest. 

Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg for me. I dream of a week-long getaway, by myself, with no distractions, so I could focus. But heaven knows I’d find a distraction in that scenario as well (“oh look! A bug!”). Someday I’ll find that focus that I desire, until then I will continue on as I have been… distractedly writing.