Well, it was bound to happen eventually. And now it has happened, Bad Girlz of the World. Someone got into my head and sapped my ability to write this manuscript.
For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll call this person She-who-must-not-be-named. She-who-must-not-be-named said things that I can’t forget, but I also won’t repeat on the internet. Sorry. You’ll have to take my word that it was terrible. I had this unfortunate encounter with lady no name in May. Even now, with what I’m writing two months later, I can’t shake the feeling that all of my words are wrong. Every line of every character in every plot now fail to live up to some standard this lady has set for me. And if nothing is good enough, then nothing is exactly what I will write. Sounds reasonable, right? Only my total word count yesterday was 36 deleted words, so that would be negative 36…while on a deadline. Curse you, She-who-must-not-be-named!
Has this ever happened to you? I’m guessing that I’m not alone with all the experiences out there of critiques gone wrong, mean-spirited contest feedback, one star reviews, and bad editorial matches. We’re told that we must develop thick skin to be published authors, but that doesn’t make us impervious to taking vicious criticism to heart. It’s hard, but I’m usually able to bounce back from these situations once I’m away from it for a day. This time, however, I let this lady get into my head and now I can’t seem to get her out.
What’s a Bad Girl to do? I have no idea. But, this is what I’m trying…
1. Write a giant blog post of woe…Alright, maybe that part was self-explanatory since you’re reading mine. But it does help to write words, any words, if only to remind ourselves that we do have the ability to complete a sentence.
2. Assess She-who-must-not-be-named to determine the validity of her opinion. As my mom always advised me when I was upset about something that was said, “Consider the source.” If she offered information of value to positively change your writing, then use it. Some people, however, are mean for the sake of being mean. Others, while not mean, are not your readers. While still others are mean and not your readers. Mean people who are not your readers are allowed freedom of speech, but no one is required to listen to them.
3. Realize that you can’t make She-who-must-not-be-named happy. Some people don’t want to be happy. And as we decided in step 2, she is mean and not your reader. So, let her be unhappy over in her little corner of the world. Walk away and don’t look back. Don’t engage her. Don’t argue with her. And, don’t dwell on her awful words for the next two months of your life thereby stomping on all confidence and creativity you may have—I’m looking at you on that last bit, E. Michels. She-who-must-not-be-named doesn’t deserve that kind of power over you.
4. Remember that you have people in your life who love the words that you write, the stories you tell. Those are your people, those are your readers, not She-who-must-not-be-named. Write for your people, write for you—just write. Write….write…write…seriously, go write even if they’re all the wrong words. Two wrongs may not make a right, but 80k wrong words make a book that you’re then able to edit.
Has a She-who-must-not-be-named ever gotten into your head? What did you do to get her out?