by Suzanne D. Williams
There are days when I have to force myself to smile. Any author knows what I mean – that plastic, I-don’t-want-to-hear-this expression that hides what you’re actually thinking. Because nothing should show how I really feel about negative reviews, low sales, or any of the other innumerable downers that come with being an author. I must say “thank you” and “I’ll take that into consideration” until the sun goes down, then the next day I start all over again. I have to keep up a positive front.
At the same time, I can’t stay in the low moments. I have to find hope again, and there are a few healthy steps to standing on my feet.
I have to give myself time to grieve whatever my “loss” for the day is. Nothing sucks the life out of a writer more than to have someone criticize a story you’ve worked on diligently for weeks. Yet readers, in a matter of hours, can tear down everything you thought you knew.
Being honest, there are stories I’ve written that I love and to this day I don’t understand why someone else doesn’t. Here’s the thing – THAT’S OKAY. They are entitled to their opinion, and I’m entitled to mine. I think about their thoughts BRIEFLY, but only AFTER I’ve given myself time to get over the pain of it.
No one says I have to jump right out there and start tearing things apart. That is usually a recipe for disaster.
Putting distance between me and the event is imperative. But incredibly hard. Nevertheless, I have to set things aside and do something else. Sometimes, that means NOT WRITING. Other times, it’s simply switching tasks. I work on something that takes my thoughts away from what upsets me, and that, in itself, keeps me from reacting. Because just as soon as I allow my feelings to spout out, without thinking them through first, I know I will regret every word.
My friends have saved me more times when I was ready to self-destruct, both writing friends and non-writing friends. I realize I am someone outside of an author. I can stop and be a mom, a wife, a daughter. I can sit with my dog for an hour and just be a human. It’s amazing how that will re-center things.
I also know I don’t have to be witty and on-the-ball all the time. I can watch TV or bake cookies or water the flowers. With my head clear later, I’ll see how to fix whatever is messed up or know how to simply leave it be. Sometimes, doing nothing is everything.
- Try again.
Never give up. If one idea failed, I have other successes. I am not perfect, but I don’t let my mistakes define me.
I also don’t let peer pressure tell me how to do my job. If one person didn’t like a character or this person thought I should have taken the storyline to the left or to the right, that’s okay for them to say, but ultimately, the style of stories I write are mine to choose. I have to like them first and foremost.
Ultimately, I will not be the author people expect, but I’ll be the author I ACTUALLY AM, no matter whose hair that ruffles along the way. I change when it’s necessary, but I make my choice to change after listening to my heart. Then, the next day, the next week, I’ll look back and realize I overcame things. I have a new goal. I’m making new efforts and everything’s going to be all right.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE
To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SDWAuthor.