Rejection. It’s something we all fear, I guess. We are born craving acceptance – if we are not accepted we will die. Or at least be put up for adoption. Writers are no different in this respect to new born babies. Or maybe we are more like the loving mothers urging our offspring on to others and not able to see if its not really as beautiful as we think.
It’s no secret that I have had a bad review for my book on Amazon. I had known that sooner or later it would happen, but when it did, being pre-warned was no help. I went through the usual stages of grief: I started with a kind of ‘so what’ shrug, then went into a depression and a downward spiral, felt like everything I wrote was worthless and what was the point anyway, I was surely kidding myself I could write? I asked a Facebook contact, who is a very well-established, successful and admired writer, what do you do, how do you deal with this? She told me what I already knew. You can’t please everyone.
The thing is, it would be so easy to try to change yourself, your style, your genre, everything, in order to please the one or two dissenters who don’t get you or your writing and probably shouldn’t have read it in the first place. If you are a lover of fantasy or paranormal fiction, I don’t understand why you would choose to read something totally different and then complain that its different? That’s like going to a book shop and asking for sausages.
So I got over it.
To begin with, I don’t flatter myself I have universal appeal, and just as there are books I would not enjoy reading, I realise that my books may not appeal to everyone. I have to be myself. I’ve tried writing the ‘proper’ way, as I was taught by a number of well-meaning and in some cases, very successful writers and teachers of writing. But I have to be me (visualise someone running down the road into a golden sunset, arms outstretched in triumph, singing “I Gotta Be Me – just gotta be free”) – I need to write to be happy and also I need to be happy to write, so I set aside the slings and arrows and choose not to let them hurt me or distract me from what I am trying to achieve.
I’m now moving on.