Out of Sorts

My body has returned from vacation, but my mind still isn’t wrapped around any kind of routine.  We got home at 1:30 this morning and I slept until almost nine o’clock, which messed up my whole day because I’m usually up by six o’clock.  I have 9 hours and 18 minutes to get psyched about going to work tomorrow.                        

I managed to write a little on vacation, but not nearly as much as I hoped.  Without being at my desk with cats curled up by the computer (or on the keyboard) it just wasn’t the same.  I also found it difficult to write with an audience; I didn’t have any place I could go alone and I can’t write with someone looking over my shoulder.

I didn’t have access to the internet during vacation and I didn’t want it bad enough to pay for it, so today, I got caught up on email.  I found out two things:  1) it was refreshing to have a week and half off from obsessing over whether or not I had any query rejections waiting for me; and 2) I shop WAY too much.  I had 153 emails waiting for me from different retailers attempting to entice me into jumping on the Independence Day sales.  My husband is really disappointed that I missed the deals.  (Not really).

Earlier, I checked the critique forum that I frequent and found someone critiqued the first few pages of my novel.  The only positive comment was congratulating me for finishing the novel.  I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.  Briefly, I thought about quitting, but I got over it.  Unfortunately, I’m still a little blue, or I wouldn’t feel the need to write about it.  Two people have read and liked the final version, so I hope it isn’t as bad as this person thought.  I did make a couple of changes that made sense, though.  Intellectually, I know getting thick skin isn’t a process that happens overnight.  I’m expecting several more wounds that will heal and make me stronger until negative comments don’t sting so badly.

Does anyone have any advice on handling not-so-glowing comments on their work?


7 thoughts on “Out of Sorts

  1. Smander July 7, 2010 / 11:46 PM

    hmm advice. Advice. Let me think. The only thing I can suggest (and perhaps this is hypocrtical because negative comments always get me down) is that you need to try and separate yourself from your work. I know I’m pretty much saying, ‘dont take it personally’ but I guess that’s just it! You are wonderful, give yourself credit for effort not just success! What is success anyway?

    • jannatwrites July 8, 2010 / 9:27 PM

      I think you’re right – I need to change my thoughts. In my head, success = published novel, therefore, if I’m not published, I’ve failed. Perhaps a healthier way to look at this whole process is a series of personal goals that don’t need validation? That sure relieves the pressure…

      P.S. – Love the cat story; it made me laugh! They are funny little creatures.

  2. Smander July 7, 2010 / 11:47 PM

    p.s. my cat always sits on my keyboard. One day i was out of the office and I heard the computer TALKING TO ME. I was so scared. Then I realised the cat had accidently pushed the button that turns on the voice commands. Such a special creature.

  3. 2blu2btru July 8, 2010 / 5:46 AM

    I always try to find anything constructive in it. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad when there is something useful being said. I also check critiques for typos, grammatical mistakes, poor word choice, and/or cattiness…makes me feel better to see they also can improve on some things 😀

    • jannatwrites July 8, 2010 / 9:36 PM

      You’re right; any comment that improves my work ultimately has a positive impact. I guess since my thick skin isn’t fully developed, the absence of any positive comments weighs too heavily on me. Time will fix that. I have to admit, finding errors in overly critical comments makes me feel better too (they’re not perfect either).

  4. chlost July 8, 2010 / 9:40 PM

    I also do not take criticism well, especially of something so personal. But I haven’t often put anything up for public review. I think you’d have to own your stuff. This is comparable to loving yourself before you can be loved by others. If you are confident of your ability and your work, you will be able to let criticism roll off your back. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make logical changes that may be suggested (that’s called good editing, I believe),as that would be part of being confident with your work. You are confident enough that you will know what changes will improve it.
    As I am writing this, I am not sure that I am making sense. Bottom line-if you love it, be proud of it, don’t cringe from criticism, just evaluate it and decide if you feel it is something that will improve the quality. Be proud of what you have done, but open to good suggestions.

    I know, easier said than done. I don’t know if I can follow that either! Hang in there.

    • jannatwrites July 8, 2010 / 10:16 PM

      Thanks for your input; your comment makes sense. I think lack of confidence might be another part of my problem…I’ve always been rather shy and not many people have read my writing, so at times, I doubt myself. (I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time by submitting garbage for them to read.) I’m beginning to wonder if God’s intended goal of my writing is to get me into therapy rather than publishing a novel!

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