How Do I Make Myself Write Again After Getting Negative Feedback?

I have been struggling so much to write again.

The first book just came out, the second one is done without yet having a publishing house, and I have excuse after excuse to not write another book.

Excuses: The story’s not there. Nothing exciting enough is happening in my life for me to write about. I’ve got plenty of time. I need to focus on publishing the next book first. I don’t know the characters in this story. I have too many other things to do… Blah blah blah.
What’s really going on is I’m struggling to get over words spoken to me about Chase (my debut novel). Words like, “Did you even have an editor? Your character development sucks.” (Not verbatim, but that’s how I interpreted it.) And more words like, “Why’d you write in first person for both viewpoints? I couldn’t tell them apart.” (One of my favorite, best-selling authors Maggie Stiefvater does that—with more than two characters in first person in the Shiver trilogy!) And even MORE words, “I can’t give this any better than one star in its current condition. I’m sorry.”

It’d be a super big deal and I’d really take it to heart if all my reviews read like this. But that’s only one review. Uno. Have I clung to the five and four star reviews that are much more numerous? Nope.

Why?

Because my inner fear as a writer agrees with the one star review. My own insecure voice adds to the negative spin in my head: “Why do you even bother? You’ll never make enough in this writing thing to quit your day job. You’ll always be wanting something you can’t have.”

This is writer’s block for me. It’s an inability to move beyond the fear that I’m wrong about what I have to say; I’m wasting my time.

I can sit and wallow in that for a little while. That’s healthy. There’s a seed of growth in every rejection—something to learn. But if I let it stop me forever, that’s completely unhealthy. I came to a point where my identity was in crisis.

I am a writer.
But I’m not writing.
Then who am I?

My true voice, the one that’s not insecure, but is creative and free, asked, “What are you going to do about this?”

I buckled up to get going again. But I was really reluctant. My driving argument with myself was, “I’m a writer. I write first for myself, others second, and no one is going to make me do this but me.”

I forced myself to write for four days. I hated every second of it.

But on the fourth day, there was a shift. After pushing out words for 45 minutes, I began to see the story world, feel my character’s need to want to belong, and…

The words flowed.
They weren’t forced anymore.
For fifteen minutes of bliss, I again loved the person I am.

Sometimes the thing we need to do most is the thing that scares us more than anything else. For me, at a time like this, that scary thing is writing. Failing.

But the fear of never writing again was greater for me than the fear of rejection.

You’re the only one who can make the decision to write again. If that is what you decide, I salute you for being some of the bravest human beings on the planet. It takes guts to put yourself out there again and again.

author photoSydney Scrogham is writing happy endings.  She loves connecting with readers and writers while helping them pursue their dreams.  For a limited time, Sydney is offering six tips to structure a story that sells for her email list subscribers.  You can sign up here:  http://eepurl.com/biowLj  In August 2015, Sydney released her first novel Chase through Koehler Books (which averages a 5-star review in spite of this post!).  When she isn’t writing, Sydney can be found at the barn with her horse Snowdy. To learn more, check out her blog at http://www.sswriter.com or tweet @sydney_writer.

Note:  Sydney’s ebook for Chase is currently $1.99 through November.

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5 Comments on “How Do I Make Myself Write Again After Getting Negative Feedback?

  1. As a reviewer, all I can say is I would never publish a one-star review. My policy is to contact the author to explain why the book isn’t working for me, and ask if he/she wants me to continue. If it’s not a true editing issue – grammar/spelling/punctuation etc. – which is a different problem – then I simply say I can’t get into the story; there is nothing wrong with it, but I don’t feel I can review it fairly. As a writer, though, I know exactly how you feel; there is always part of us that think the 4 and 5 star reviews are just people being nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! So glad you could share your story, Sydney! You’ve hit it–some times we have to do what scares us the most. You pushed through and found yourself again. Stay strong, sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband and I want to make Tuesday “Bad Reviewsday” where we can celebrate our bad reviews because as horrible as they can be, sometimes they can inspire our next project to be the best it can be . . . and sometimes, after the sting wears off a bit, they are pretty funny!

    Liked by 1 person

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