Reading other’s bad reviews helps me

Sometimes I like to read bad book reviews so I know what people hate about a particular story. Is it the characterisation, verisimilitude, basic sentence structure? Then I imagine that my books are getting these reviews and it prompts me to work harder so I don’t end up creating such a mess. I would be so embarrassed to have spent so much time on a story and publish it only for it to be completely shit.

Take the YOU out of your writing

Writing is personal, fun, private. Writing is professional, demanding, public. Above all writing is something that comes from inside us. Sometimes it’s shit, sometime’s is spot on, and most times it’s nothing overly special.

I’ve written shit, shit that hopefully will never see an audience. And in the future I’ll produce some tip-top stuff, but now most of it is nothing special. And it will be the same for you.

But don’t go and cry the afternoon away in you bed, contemplating your wasted existence. Most often nothing special is perfectly fine and accepted. Think of some writing/books that you think are shit, but people around you like. Not everyone can write a critically acclaimed piece, some settle for the average reading level and that is what gets published. Broadly speaking you only need to write well enough for the reader to understand your idea.

There is an article that asks people to take themselves out of their business idea(s) so that they can be able to objectively see if what they imagined is worth anything. And so should every person writing.

Yes that story you wrote is your baby and maybe it’s going to be your life’s work. But some babies turn into shit people and you your life’s work might never be of value to other people. The point of this comparison is that not every idea is good and if you took out your subjective and personal self from it then you’ll be able to see that. Some stories aren’t worth being told because, well they’re shit. They don’t have all the things that makes a good story. Things like;

  • character development,
  • reader engagement,
  • actual plot arc,
  • conflict,
  • other stuff that makes a story worthwhile.

Heard the phrase kill your darlings? 

Do it!

Look at you work and cut all that useless or boring shit out of it. If you have to re-write the entire thing, do it or ditch it. That novel you’re writing, has only enough content for a novella? Publish it as a novella. That one idea of yours doesn’t fit into that book your writing, well guess what? It doesn’t fit. Set it aside for something else. Think someone won’t understand that sentence, paragraph or idea written in front of you? Ditch it. Now you have no shit writing in front of you.

You can now proceed 🙂 Good Luck.

This better be it

Realised that I needed to do another draft of my story before I can publish it 😦 After 12/13 edits I’m going to say that I am well and truly done with this book. Once I finish this draft I will never want to have anything to do with it ever again.

My God. Why can’t I just finish it and be done with it!!!!

It always seems like I can never do a good enough job on it. I see problems everywhere and they need to fixed. Where were those editing glasses when I finished the last edit?

Probably smashed on the ground because I threw them out a window in frustration and false resolution.

I just want this to be done. I’ve read other author accounts that imply they didn’t have much problem with their books. And not only that but managed to finishes a bunch of others.

I wanna cry and scream!!!

But that won’t help. I just have to trudge through it like it’s the last part of that god awful hike from my year 11 camp 😦 (Three days camping and a hiking rate of 1km an hr 😦 And when I finally got back to the main site there was still the last steps. Affectionately nicknamed the 55 steps of misery).

55 steps of misery indeed. That is this edit. The unexpected last part of the journey to completion.

Valuable skills I took from my Arts degree.

A lot of people would look at my undergraduate degree and think something along the lines of what my nanny said years ago to me.

‘What the use of an arts degree?’

Well, here’s me getting into a bit of a huff. An arts degree are good for people like me – the creative type. Those that pursue passions and dreams as opposed to money or prestige.

I know that in the future, and even now actually, I look back on my uni studies and know that I don’t regret how I spent my time. I enjoyed a lot of the stuff I studied. I have an appreciation of poetry that I didn’t have before (doesn’t mean I like it though. It’s the medium). Jane Austen’s work speaks volumes in terms of it being a reflection of the society around her. Something I’ve never considered before. And all those electives I have had taught me so much about the world. Things I learnt about gender roles in sociology, things I learnt about people in psychology and that class ‘Trafficking Bodies from the Ancient World to the Present’. The stuff I learnt in that made me appreciate Django so much more than I would have. The social hierarchy, gender, racial roles and economical roles human beings placed on each other when they turned the human body into commodities is unbelievable. Whether I intended it or not all this has improved my life for the better. It has given me a better appreciation of the world for what it is, no matter how good or bad. And I understand human beings and our behaviour more than I would otherwise.

And all this has and will help me in pursuit of my dream to become an author.

I pursued creative writing because I love writing stories and I knew that even though I had a passion for it, I wasn’t that good at the actual writing. I had the idea in my head playing out like a movie. But it wasn’t coming out right on paper (and it also got me out of my rural town).

Going to uni opened my eyes at how poor my writing really was. And when that teacher, who was off putting to everyone including myself, said during my last year,

‘Stephanie I can see that you’re writing has improved from when I first taught you.’ (small uni and small program, had multiple classes with her)

I knew that she was telling the truth. All those creative writing classes where I had to write story after story, sometimes I had to force it out of me while adhering to the criteria they set (which was hard by the way). But every new story I wrote and multiple rounds of editing forced me to look at what I wrote (aka poured myself and soul into) and realise that sometimes (aka every time) it wasn’t really good. And what was worse than realising that the wording, formatting and punctuation was sub-par was realising that the story itself wasn’t worth much.

I could have given up and after my first creative writing class ‘intro to creative writing’ I wanted to. I struggled against what I thought was how to write a story and the better way to write one(the whole story plot graph thing). That story I wrote for class – I wasn’t happy with it and I will probably never publish it. But I wanted to be a writer so I didn’t give up. Even though the teacher’s comments and edits showed me how bad I was, it wouldn’t deter me, even though my feelings said otherwise.

I took next semester’s creative writing classes and continued. Each new story brought with it a new round of editing from different teachers. while their comments seemed like a negative, they were actually helping me. They showed me my faults and forced me to look at them.

They forced me to realise that myself and my writing are two different things.

Even years later I know I’m more of a ‘teller’ when to be better I should be a ‘shower’ when it comes to writing. And because they told me, I know that when I look at a piece of my writing I can see it. I also know to change it.

And when someone says that they don’t like how/what/why I wrote what I wrote I can take it.

Because criticism was one of the best skills I learnt from my time at uni.

Because determination matters to those who want to succeed.

Because I could be a millionaire/billionaire/trillionaire or poor for the rest of my life and I will still write.

Because I know my novels are not something to give up when I get frustrated at my own inability to write them.

Because I know that if I don’t pursue my dreams then I’m less than what I could be.

Because writing is my passion and I want a life filled with the joy it gives me.

Does self publishing failure exist?

Just spent some time cruising through posts on the freshly pressed section of word press and decided to look under the search term ‘self publish failure’.

But nothing came up!

Does that mean no one can fail when it comes to self publishing? Or is that people’s ideas of failure is not that simple?

When to simply upload something online equals success then what equals failure?

Is it;

  • people not buying your work?
  • people not viewing your work?
  • people not caring about your work?
  • people not thinking it is not well written?

If fellow readers/viewers have this opinion or action towards your work then would you consider yourself a failure? Or would you consider someone else in the same position as a failure?

Some people would say yes others no. What defines successful self publishing?

Write what you think in the comments section.

It’s not self-published vs traditional published anymore, it’s professional vs unprofessional.

I came across an article called ‘How To Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0‘ by James Altucher. It talked about his recent success with his latest book ‘Choose Yourself‘, but that is not what I was mainly interested in. What I was interested in was that he mentioned today’s publishing isn’t divided between self-published and traditionally published books anymore, but divided between professional and unprofessional.

It got me thinking at how the industry has changed in recent times. While I’ve only recently come into it (last couple of years) I have not had the opinion that self-published books hold the stigma that seemed to come with self publishing simply because I entered at a time when there are good quality self-published stories that can be accessed by a large amount of people.

In the past people had the idea that the way a book was published dictated the actual narrative quality inside. But any person who reads a lot of books will come across traditionally published books and think ‘how did this piece of shit get published?’

I know I have.

It amazes me that such poorly written/expressed/edited or just plain terrible stories ever make it past the first round in a publishing house. Did everyone involved have a brain aneurysm or something? Come one guys! You have access to more resources than a single individual, and yet you somehow end up with dribble.

But in today’s world it is not where you publish or the platform that you publish on. It is how you publish it. Have you done it professionally or unprofessionally? Have you taken you time to edit and re-write bad sections of your novel?

Overall people now look at the quality of something, not where it came from.