There Let Us Wallow (How to Accept Criticism)

EditingIt’s a scary moment when you send your writing out into the world. This thing you’ve created from part of your own soul, this thing you dreamt up and gave life to, your baby. You want to protect it from everything, want to keep it safe. But you can’t. Once it’s out there, it’s up for scrutiny, and not everyone will love it like you do.

So how do you cope when you receive criticism?

There will be a lot of people jumping in to tell you to ignore it, to learn from it, and not to dwell on it. “Learn to shrug it off”, they’ll say. “You’ll need to grow a thicker skin if you want to be a writer.” And it’s fantastic advice, it really is, but remember this too: your initial feelings are not only completely valid, but they can be healthy too.

So feel free to wallow, or cry, or shout, or swear you’ll never write again. Feel free to binge eat ice cream, chocolate, or cake. Get drunk. Shout obscenities. Climb under your duvet and hide there. Stamp your feet, thump a pillow, scream at the sky. Do what you have to do to get those feelings out.

Then go to bed.

There’s a reason people say that things will look better in the morning. It’s because they usually do.

So feel free to wallow today, but tomorrow, wake up ready to kick some butt. Wake up ready to prove your critics wrong by bettering yourself, improving your work, strengthening your weaknesses, and accepting feedback with grace and self respect.

Feel free to wallow, but tomorrow’s another day, and if you feel like you lost today, get up and march for victory in the morning.

Insecure Writer's Support GroupThis post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Got Goals? Pretty Much There

Big Goals BloghopOver the past month I’ve finished writing The Mothers, I’ve edited it, I’ve sent it to beta readers, and finalised the cover and blurb. So we’re pretty much there and ready for an October release.

It’s really quite monumental: the last book of my first ever series.

But, as with all endings, it’s also a beginning as I’ve already started on my next series. Fun, fun, and busy, busy!

Join the Got Goals? Bloghop here.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: At the Cliff’s Edge

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is September’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Every writer knows about blank page syndrome. Those moments before you write your first word, when possibilities are endless. The terrifying unknown and the paralysing fear that you might be about to write the worst thing you’ve ever written. Or the best. Because both outcomes are equally scary.

But there’s another phenomenon, at the other end of things. Facing the ending. As I approach the ending of any story, I slow right down. The words come reluctantly, and my fingers wade across the suddenly treacle-like keyboard. It always happens.

The end of a story holds equal fears to the beginning. Those endless possibilities. Because, as we all know, every ending is also a beginning.

I’m currently stood at the end of, not just my latest book, but my whole series, editing its fourth and final instalment. I’m stood at the cliff’s edge gazing into the abyss of possibilities. It’s scary. But it’s exciting too.

Are you at the beginning? Or the end? Or both? Does the fear affect you?

Got Goals? Still Not There… But Almost!

Big Goals BloghopToday’s post is going to be similar to last month’s. Again, I had really hoped to be saying that The Mothers was finished. But no. It is nearly though, really, really nearly! Just a handful of chapters left to go.

The trouble is, my writing time is entirely dependent on two young boys. If they won’t go to sleep, or they wake up early, or need my attention, that’s it. My laptop has to wait. And they’re not always generous when dishing out writing time.

But, that’s my life, and I’m so lucky to have them. I love them both to bits, but I do wish they’d let me write more!

Saying that, I am determined to finish it this month, and I’m hoping, fingers crossed, for a late September launch. We’ll see how it goes…

Join the Got Goals? Bloghop here.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Sunscreen and Scary Stuff

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is August’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Do you remember that song; Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)? Basically a long list of good advice put to music. I had it on CD. Loved it. Tried to live by it.

There was one particular line that still resonates: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. For me, that’s not difficult. I’m scared of everything. Some days, just stepping out of the front door is scary enough.

But I still do it. Because I think it’s important for me to push myself. When I look back over my life, I can see all the things that would have never happened if I didn’t do things that scared me. And the sense of accomplishment when I have pushed through my fears is like no other high.

I’ve just agreed to do something that terrifies me. Later this year, I’ll be appearing at a literary convention. I’ll be running a workshop, and, scariest of all, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion. On a stage. With a microphone. In front of an audience. An audience expecting me to be clever and insightful. (Thank goodness there’s no expectation for me to be funny!)

This terrifies me. I’m sure I’ll simply sit there, gaping like a fish, unable to get a single word out. I’m hoping that my theatre training will kick in and get me through it. But I know how good this is for business. How important it is. How many doors it could open.

Have you ever been on a panel discussion or led a workshop? What are your top tips? What scares you, and how do you push through your fear?

Got Goals? Reviving Long Lost Habits

Big Goals BloghopI was hoping to be able to tell you that I’d finished writing The Mothers, that I was just about to wade into the editing. I’m not. I’m around halfway through. But that’s ok. Because I’ve been getting lots of other things done.

For the first time in more than a year, I’ve written one of my Story Worms posts for Horror Tree. It was good to write it, the guilt of letting the months drag by without posting anything was slowly gnawing away at me. I’m hoping this will be a revival, that I can get back into the habit of writing them regularly again.

Also this month, I’ve written a short story to submit to an anthology. This is where I started out with my publishing journey, and it’s something I’d been wanting to get back into. It’s great to stretch the writing muscles with a prompt, a deadline, and a tight wordcount limit. And after years of being submerged in the world of The Paper Duchess series, it’s really nice to write in a different world for a change. It’s also really nice to be back writing horror again.

And I’ve been blogging lots. This is something I promise myself regularly that I’ll try to do more. And I’ve been working on my business; networking, promoting, and saying yes to a great opportunity that terrifies and excites me all at once.

So I may not have finished The Mothers, but I’ve definitely kept myself busy.

What have you been up to this month? If you want to visit the other blogs in this blog hop, or fancy signing up yourself, check out the linky list here: sylmion.blogspot.co.uk/p/do-you-have-goal.html