Welcome to the writer’s life, Marilyn! This is the wild ride, the ups and downs, the agony and joy of writing, or so it would seem.
When I went to Planet Comicon, I had a wonderful time talking to writers, hearing them speak about writing, getting tips, and being inspired. The Cosplayers were great, the guests were awesome, the pop culture was thorough fun. It was an inspiration and a joy.
Then I did my first reading and book signing at 3 Wishes, another wonderful time. I saw a lot of old friends I hadn’t seen in ages. I met people I’d never met before. I didn’t flub the reading too badly, and we sold some books. It was, in all, really good.
Then I read some of my on-line reviews. Some are great, all praise and love. Some are less wonderful, but fair and honest. I agree with the criticisms and know that those are the sorts of things I hope to improve in my next books. And then there was the one review.
I can understand not liking the main character. I can understand hating the plot. I know this book isn’t for everyone. But I have to take exception with the criticism of Winston, the cat. The reviewer, in her bio, claims to be a cat person. If that is so, I feel sorry for her cats.
The character, Winston, a very large cat with some interesting character traits, is based on several cats I have been privileged to know over the years. To describe their behavior as uncatlike might distress them, if they weren’t cats and therefore don’t give a crap what people think.
Bad reviews happen. It’s part of the ride. Not everyone will like every book. There are highly touted classics I can’t abide. And because people have different tastes, we have available to us a vast array of authors and genres and books–something for everyone, we hope. The thing is, I can’t let the bad reviews steal the joy from my writing. I can’t let someone not loving me or my writing or my cat keep me from the fun, the thrill of creation, the daily process of working at what I love.
I will have more bad reviews. I will encounter people who don’t get my jokes, who don’t like the created people I’ve come to love, and who will take exception to my interpretation of the world. But that’s all right. If I don’t get on the horse and ride, I’ll never experience the inevitable ups that follow close behind the downs. I can’t please everyone, but I must please myself, and I must keep writing.
Image: Jonathan Hutchins riding Crystal Perfection, Fort Leavenworth Hunt, spring fox hunt, 2003. Picture by Marilyn J. Evans.