Reviews and your Muse

January 15, 2014

Yes, I know what you're thinking: another blog about how to deal with negative reviews. Well, that is the minefield us writers/authors have to traverse through. It is always on our minds, plaguing us, making us doubt our work, our skill. They make us question why we write and should we continue writing. I've had negative reviews, some helpfully critical, others scathing. But what I've learned is:they cannot stop you from writing unless you let them.

 

I've seen some other authors take it personally and claim it scared away their muse or that they question if they should simply stop writing because it isn't worth it anymore. It hurts to read that. No one, NO ONE, should have such power over your muse except YOU. I always want to ask them, why are you giving such power to someone you don't know, who is unconnected to you, and is probably just, essentially, a cyber-bully?

 

My initial reaction to scathing reviews, the ones which are more interested in abusing the author than critiquing the book, is anger. Pure and simple: anger. My muse is a tough old bird and simply puts her hands on her hips, scowls, and says, "think what you want, I'm still writing."

 

That's the key, I think. Keep writing. There is no better way to combat the trolls than to keep writing, letting them know, letting yourself know, that they have no power over you, and that your muse will keep on fighting the good fight. Yes, I'm as sensitive as the next author and there is hurt wrapped up in the anger. But, honestly, I'd drive myself insane if I tried to please every single reader out there, and we all know there are people who get off by abusing authors, because they know that should an author say anything, that author gets condemned.

 

A suggestion was made on one of my writing online groups that I'm going to put into practice the next time I get a negative review. They said to write a reply to that review, BUT DON'T SEND IT. Get out your justifications, your anger, your hurt, but keep it in a folder. That way, you purge the negative and are hopefully left with a muse who feels incredibly lighter.

 

Anyway, this is my two cents, for what it's worth. I hope this helps some of you out there, either inspiring or established authors. I think we need to keep discussing these topics, because for newbies, they don't know how to react or what course to take. It wasn't long ago that I was a newbie and had to learn how to cope with negative reviews. I learned quickly: get tough, impenetrable skin, and have a talk with your muse. The power is yours, it will always be yours, and don't let anyone take that away from you.

 

Okay, I'm done. Short and sweet.

M.D.

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