Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Writing Tips for Losers

I've talked about criticism before and writers absolutely need to have thick skins. I find the best way is to have a sense of humor about it AND take everything in context.
Life needs to be taken in context, it rarely is.

If someone criticises your writing, it doesn't necessarily mean they are criticizing you as a person, they absolutely are.

IF you're worried your writing is terrible-STOP! That means it is.
Quit, before you inflict any more ETHAN FROME damage on another human being.

If everyone doesn't love your writing, you are an absolute failure and waste of space who may as well turn in your pen, keyboard and little writer conference badge to the nearest public library.

Definitely don't pose in pictures with people who have published more books than you as osmosis doesn't work that way, you will only drag those more successful people down with you.

Bad writing is contagious. There are whole sub-genres I won't dare go near.

Nitpickers are to be treasured. Who else will help you see how awful you are, but the person who can point out a typo on twitter? Hopefully they can all become literary critics. (Because they can't write either)

There is also another side to this coin.

If you are writing in a similar vein to another author who is more successful than you-but you KNOW you are so much better than them-You are.

Problem is, no one else knows that yet, therefore you suck.

Quit writing, there is no other side of the coin, there is only one side, the one that you are terrible on. It's a paradoxical vortex.

Stop fooling yourself.


There, now I don't feel so bad about a lousy Goodreads review from someone who clearly wasn't the right demographic and had no business reading my majestic prose.

If you read Nicholas Sparks, Twilight, Spencer W. Kimball and Joel Osteen
BUT Conversely NOT
Robert E. Howard, A Song of Ice & Fire, Brigham Young and Miyamoto Musashi - I just won't expect a good review from ya.

Stay sharp my centurions.


Paul R. McNamee said...

"Everyone's a critic."

Never was that phrase more apt than in the age of the Internet.

What's the line from the movie, Desperado?

"So much easier to shoot a gun than to play a guitar. So much easier to destroy than to create."

They're lazy. Let them write a novel before they cast aspersions.

For example, I can't believe how often Black Library will post on Facebook about a new title or author, and half the replies are negative about said author's other writings.

Yes, as a consumer you have some right to critique because of the money you spent - but you should be constructive and post it in the correct place!

(I've been trying to tone down my own critic lately, too. Unless it's absolutely awful, really - who am I to gripe?)

T.J. said...

Wow! I suck. I really ought to just give up writing and take everyone else down with me! My new lot in life! (That way, no one else will want to write and I'll become the only one published. There is madness behind my method.)

I actually laughed pretty well at this post. Good that you can keep your spirits up. You don't suck as a writer. Your book isn't really for me, but I don't look at it as crap.

David J. West said...

Much appreciated Paul, thanks for the chuckle.

TJ-I wasn't referring to you...unless youjust gave me 2 stars. :)

Berin Stephens said...

Goodreads can be brutal. What I hate is when people say a book stinks, but don't say why. If someone gives me a 1* without offering a coherent reason, I write it off as someone who just wants to be negative. If someone gives me a poor review and they say why, then I can learn something from it even if I don't agree.

But, yeah, we have to grow thick skins, which is hard when you put so much blood, sweat and tears into your work.

David P. King said...

Shoot. That post just motivated me for the rest of the day. No joke. I'll get to work right now.

Thick skin - so true.

You taught me that lesson earlier this year and it's stuck with me. As for Goodreads, maybe it's a good thing I don't know about it. Maybe not. I don't know. Should I?

Stephanie Black said...

So of course, you made me curious and I had to go check your Goodreads ratings, and holy moly, David. 4.29 average? Um, I don't think you have anything to worry about :) That's an incredible rating. But yeah, those two-star ratings still sting, no matter how much praise you've gotten.

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw some criticism of Louis L'Amour about how he needed to have taken Freshman English, and there you have the definition of someone who is an idiot.

Julie Wright said...

Goodreads is of the devil. My favorite bad review was one star, one word, three letters: BOO

How many people can say they've been boo-ed? After I got over my imitial indignance, I laughed a lot. That was hilarious. I wear my book like a badge of honor.

KarenG said...

Ok now I must go to Goodreads and read that review. I've had a few of those horrible ones as well. They hurt but it's good training for us, helps us get that thick skin we need, and to face the reality that not everyone is going to love our books and think we're brilliant.

Angie said...

Yeah, it's easy to feel that way, isn't it? But you know you don't suck.

Valerie Ipson said...

Thanks for the laugh! It was a joke right?...right?... :D

Valerie Ipson said...

Thanks for the laugh! It was a joke right?...right?... :D

Valerie Ipson said...

(And next time I'll be patient and not hit the Publish button a second time when it doesn't post fast enough for my taste.)

One Cluttered Brain said...

Luckily for me I have read some of those "other books" you mentioned. Whew.

I know, I know. I promise. i will finish your book. I will. I am swamped right now and behind in everything....
It will get done...trust me.
But u make a point.
I'm still not gonna stop writing though...
I LOVE it too much.
sorry. ;( lol...

David J. West said...

Berin-absolutely, your book is your silent child.

David-yeah, check it out.

Stephanie-much appreciated-I need to add your books to my read pile.

Charles-thats hilarious, L'Amour is a master.

Julie-AWESOME! That is the way to be.

Karen-that was the kicker-nothing else-that and she didn;'t really review anything-just that they were read.

Much appreciated Angie-you're a Queen.

Valerie-yes, I came up with this after my sarcasm was too misunderstood on FB.

Alexes-nothing to be sorry about. My sarcasm knows no bounds.

Angela Perry said...

I hope I can be as bad you are some day :)

"Bad writing is contagious. There are whole sub-genres I won't dare go near." <-- This is true, though. MG babysitting books are all equally horrible. I know, because I read every single one to the little girl I babysat in high school.

David J. West said...

Heh, Thanks Angela, I hope you can be as bad as me too.

Dan said...

Everyone says to get a thick skin, but no one tells you precisely how. Quick, I need to know by next month!

Think of it this way, David. Bad reviews are proof that some people have bad taste.

David J. West said...

That's pretty funny Dan, I'll have to steal that.

Le'see getting a thick skin by next month?
Remember you can't ever please everybody-EVEN the people you think are your absolute prime demographic.
As much as I would like to have everyone like my work-I KNOW they won't, so I try to be at peace with writing what I like.

I suppose I am admitting to artistic license over commercial success. Be sure to call me out on that when I write a NY Times Bestseller in 2012.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Wow, you said it all. I've felt just like that at times when I receive a bad review.

But like Stephanie said, over all you have a great average. =}

I once heard Jeff Foxworthy say he never reads his reviews so they don't bother him. All in all, good advice. You have the published book, my friend, which is a BIG WIN!!!

David J. West said...

Thanks Kathi, I'm a glutton for reading the good reviews too.

Debbie Davis said...

I totally love these tips, I so feel that is what so many other writers are totally trying to say half the time they read your work, it makes things so awesome and the way we get a thick skin? scars in disguise. lol. Thanks for your funny take on things and your great sense of humor! I love your blog and what you have to say! =0) oh and thanks for emailing me about series and stuff, it was awesome!

David J. West said...

You're very welcome Debbie.

Dan said...

Hey, just remember that even if they didn't like your book, they must have bought it. Keep the cash flowing this way, please!

Nicki Elson said...

Hahaha. When I get a less than stellar rating at Goodreads, I simply assume that reader is a trashy slut and doesn't care for the moral message I tried to convey. Works every time... ;)

David J. West said...

That's true Dan but I want them to keep buying books 2, 3 and 4 etc etc.

Nicki-that could always be a possibility as well. You never know about some people.

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