4 Crappy experiences every writer goes through

It’s both terrifying and exhilarating, putting your work out there for public consumption.  Thanks to self-publishing and open platforms like Facebook and Twitter, new writers can reach a bigger audience then ever before.

This also gives new writers opportunities to be insulted, criticized, ignored and rejected in more ways then they could ever imagine.

This post is for my all the new writers out there who are jumping into this pool.  Some crummy things are going to happen to you along the way.

I’m with you.  We’re all with you.  Keep going and don’t let any of these get you down.

#1. The straightforward rejection

This is a rite of passage.  You cannot realistically call yourself a writer unless you have one good agent rejection under your belt.  I’ve gotten dozens of these, and they still sting.  Here’s a pretty standard sample, one of several dozen I got when querying my first book.

rejection.jpg

I sort of prefer this to agents who provide no response at all.

To put another way, eventually you’ll be able to show everyone your own version of your “agent rejections spreadsheet” similar to the one I have:

Rejections.jpg
Sadly, this isn’t the full spreadsheet

#2 The random jerk out of nowhere

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article called “The Worst Writing Advice I’ve Received.”  All of my posts automatically go up on my Facebook page.  The article got one comment.  Here it was:

jerk.jpg
Does this mean you’re not going to subscribe to my mailing list?

The rule is supposed to be that all feedback is useful, but this just made me sad.   No matter what you write, there will always be at least one person who is angry you wrote it, and inevitably, these people are the most vocal.

Everyone says you’re supposed to get a thick skin on this, but I haven’t mastered the art.  It just hurts my feelings.  Oh well.

#3 The horrible silence

I get it.  There are something like a million blogs created a day and I’m grateful for every view of get.  I’m one of thousands of blogs about writing.

Having said that, it can be discouraging to work on a post for a few hours, rewrite to make sure it flows well, find images, get the whole thing posted online and…. nothing.

My worst performing post this year is one I did in January called “Tips for Working with Beta Readers”  Was it my best article?  Probably not.  But was it this bad?

Silence.jpg
The internet has voted and found this article wanting

That’s four views.  It’s not missing a 0 at the end.  Four views, for all of 2018.   Again, I totally understand.  I’m a tiny blog with a tiny following.

I’m more confused about how arbitrary it is.  In 2017, I banged off an article called “6 things wrong with the Last Jedi”.   The whole thing took about twenty minutes to write and I didn’t put the same amount of thought into it.

Here’s how it performed:

Jedi.jpg

The internet is a weird and fickle place.  There honestly seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of work I put into an article and the amount of attention it receives.

#4 The well-meaning but super insulting feedback

I think it’s important to put your work in progress stuff out there for consumption.  It gives you a chance to see real reactions and helps you craft your stuff in real time, before you’re too far down a path to make corrections.

It’s tough to give effective feedback.  I know I struggle with it, and the internet doesn’t really convey tone very well.  Which is why it’s inevitable that you’re eventually going to get feedback that feels personal and stings.

The worst I’ve received so far was from a local writer’s group, after looking over one of my pieces, one of the people said “Don’t worry, I made a lot of dumb mistakes on my first try too”

(note – it was not my first try).


 

What else have I missed?  Have you had your own discouraging experiences to share?

5 comments

  1. No wonder we’re advised to develop thick skin. Sorry you’ve had to deal with so much crap…here’s to more positive responses! Great post x

    1. I don’t even think I’ve gone through anything that terrible. I’m sure other writers have way worse stories than this

  2. I consider you one of my writing mentors and always look forward to your posts. This one was, somehow, reassuring…I am nowhere near the point you are in my writing ‘career’(??) and have been too terrified of rejection to even consider submitting my work anywhere. Shame on me…I realize I should just bite the bullet and purchase a nice frame for that first rejection letter. Sincerest thanks for the gentle push…

    1. Your comments are always so wonderful to read, thank you so much for saying all those nice things.
      As for rejection – it sucks. There’s no possible way to sugar coat it. The best I can say about it is how impersonal it feels. It all felt very businesslike.

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