Just like the “Starting Over” house, Oprah, and Iyanla have shown, the way life helps you deal with issues is to throw you into a situation where you have to deal with that very issue.
For me, the way God has thrown me into the fire has been by writing fiction. It propelled me into blogging and sharing my private thoughts publicly. It propelled me into submitting my fiction to other writers for critique. It propelled me to submit to agents and publishers for representation or rejection. And it propelled me to publish my work, submitting it reviewers and readers for reviews.
That’s the hardest part for me about writing – receiving negative reviews from readers. Negative feedback from agents or publishers seemed easier to deal with – maybe because they were good at offering encouragement at the same time. And they were private. It’s so much more difficult to see your work critiqued publicly.
With reader reviews, well, we often don’t know anything about this person. It’s sometimes difficult to perceive their intention. We’re told to ignore them or learn something from them. Whatever you do, you must evaluate the comment – is this a matter of personal taste, revenge, or something you should pay attention to? Writers can always improve so constructive criticism is helpful. But a reader slamming a book is not helpful at all.
I’m used to performing at a high level at work, and as a contract writer, I don’t really hear anything negative. Submitting a document through the review cycle is perceived as a necessary part of the process. And the end user doesn’t usually post a review on amazon – lol! So making my work public, open to criticism is a challenge for me.
When it comes to fiction, the same book can receive glowing reviews and scathing reviews. Or a book can receive a 5-star review with a negative comment. I’ll celebrate the 5 star review, and, as difficult as the “not-so-good” stuff is, I can view it as an opportunity for learning how to receive both the positive and the negative.
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers opens with this quote:
“There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good she was criticized anyway. —Elan Golomb, Ph.D., Trapped in the Mirror
McBride, Karyl (2008-09-23). Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers (p. 3). Atria Books. Kindle Edition.
If any of you have a narcissistic mother, you know what I’m talking about. You’re never good enough. And with writing, the built-in opportunities for rejection and criticism of your writing, well, it can be devastating!
Writing is good for dealing with so many issues in life – whether a public blog, a private journal, a work of fiction, or nonfiction. And it will reveal to you other uncovered issues you didn’t realize were buried. Writing brings the dark out into the light for examination and healing.
None of it is easy but progress is made through the writing process.