It’s Hard Being A Writer…

30 Mar

I’m sure that many readers have considered writing but have been deterred by the thought of rejection and criticism. Oh, the horror! There could be nothing worse than not being accepted by an editor – especially if they were to be rude about your skills… Then there are the letters disparaging your opus that will surely follow publication… It hardly seems worth the psychological trauma!

Just this morning, I received a letter telling me that all my poetry is rubbish. If I was a new writer receiving that assessment I think I would have quit then and there. But, I know the truth, you see… taste is purely subjective :  this afternoon I gave a reading and received all positive feedback to my poems! (And, since writing that, I won a first prize in a readers vote!) All new readers have to remember this fact and not let their fragile egos get squashed!

Nobody likes having their work disparaged, but for the novice writer any negative comment (even a mild one!) can lead to the stillbirth of their writing career. Readers, especially the opinionated ones who most often write letters of comment, are not infallible in their tastes, and neither are editors. Send the same poem or story to three different editors :  one will loathe it, one will think it okay and one will likely believe it amazing :  lucky novices meet number three before all hope is lost, others must gain a thick skin or a new interest to occupy themselves, otherwise they fail before they have really begun.

Even highly successful writers with large readerships and larger bank balances receive regular flak from would-be critics. An apt example would be JK Rowling :  whatever you think of her work, it has to be admitted that she is one of the most successful writers today, yet she has to put up with people who believe the Harry Potter series is solely for children (which it is not) and thus totally lacking in any sort of merit (which does not really follow). If she still gets put down after all these years and millions, Mr Joe Newbie really should not be too worried if someone says his short story stinks!

Yes, it is hard being a writer, but the rewards are worth it :  all you need to do is develop a degree of detachment from what others say about your work and writing skills and you could go far!


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