Let’s face it we’re not all great writers. In fact very few of us are. Nevertheless, we persevere and produce labours of love in whatever form we think we are good at.
When our major work, which has sometimes taken years to complete, is done there remains an almost universal desire to seek the approbation even admiration of our friends’ colleagues and readers. How then are we to react when our work is considered poor?
The reasons why our readers find it so are many and various, some deserved some perhaps not as valid as others. Nevertheless, criticism can hurt. There’s no use denying it.
Is there a defense mechanism that can help us ward off the hurt? Probably not, but what we can do, is go again. Write some more, but when we do we should if possible take yesterdays’ criticism as tomorrow’s guideline, at least to some extent. If we are to write anything worthwhile we have to believe that one day someone will read what we’ve written and say: “Hey, that was worth my time.” That’s possibly the greatest compliment of all, we filled their moments with words that exercised their minds and made them think, enquire, cry, laugh or even be amazed. This is the challenge every writer faces and very few writers achieve.
I hear you say, that’s ‘baloney’. I don’t think it is, but equally, I believe that the business of writing has become a very tough place to be. The commercial mainstream demands excellence in well-trodden genres, yet there are still astonishing breakthroughs. However, it remains true that the readers enjoy the hero rather than the anti-hero, that readers have habits and areas of comfort where they are comfortable. Do we, as writers, want to follow or lead. That is the question each one of us has to answer.
The thing is, we’re all storytellers, and some stories are better than others. It is the unpredictable that makes us tick, the ability to wander around in the frontier-less expanses of our minds. No one has been there before, and no one but us can tell where the stories will lead. Good for us, let’s write another one. Somebody somewhere might like it.