An open letter of advice on the topic of Writing is easy, writing is fun, writing is my passion, while the writing business (which I left behind about a year and a half ago-- that is the traditional publishing wherein I genuflect to my publisher and his people for crumbs) is or was extremely hard, no fun, and draining of my passions. Part of the old hearbreak was The Rejection Letter followed closely by the BAD Review.
You stick with it long enough you get to kiss the girl instead of the horse; you stick with writing long enough, rejection and bad reviews roll off your back. To take on rejection and criticism as elements in the WAR is simple, and for goodness sake - consider the source first. Your rejection letter is written by a recent college grad, the only one in the house who has taken any sort of look at the book.
Think of it: If my writing heroes sandbagged me, it would hurt a lot more than if Joe Blow who is workin on his first novel or has not yet gotten started but is thinking about it came down on me for jitters, then the complaining whiner knows JACK about the creative process, whereas Michael Crichton did and Lawrence Block does. If Tess Gerritsen had a word of criticism for me on reading Dead On rather than the lovely blurb she gave the book, I'd be damned hurt indeed (for one thing, I write as well if not better than some! In fact I was writing suspense thrillers when Tess, a dear in real life, was cranking out romance titles for Harlequin not all that long ago and seeking advice from me before she was crowned the next Robin Cook Medical Mystery author.
She's quite the success story, while I am not. My checkered history in publishing reads like a gofer hole blasted out by a shotgun, and it is not a thing I wish to discuss, but TV commentators swoop down on me and demanding interview! Just KIDDING. But that kind of "bozo" alone will you allow to crush your potential? I had a college English prof tell me I would never be published, that I should get out of it altogether, maybe major in Park Ranger Lore. If I had been a lesser man who allows that demon inside his head full sway to say such ALONG WITH: Who the Hell Do You Think You Are that you can sit there and think anyone anywhere would care to read a word you write?). Sorry about the serpentine nature of these sentences, but they had to come out this way in my Rant Style if I am to create discussion.
Here is the deal with this crap called rejecion and bad reviews. Ask yourself what has the "critic" done? Can the critic write your book or even her book or his book? It is no small feat to write a novel?
I lost one of many jobs in the real world, but I tenaciously demanded to know the reason why, and the boss said I had no organization about me, no skills for organizing. I slapped a copy of one of my novels on his desk and said, "You see this published novel? Nothing takes more organization than organizing a novel. You try it sometime."
I take pride in each novel I complete, and my pride grows as a result of each; having done fifty now, that evil voice inside my head and inside the head of every artist on the planet is silenced by the success of doing it (not selling it, not becoming an award-winner, not by becoming a bestseller). The piano metaphore fits right in with my metaphor of shooting baskets. You shoot enough of them, you shoot down the worst critic of all -- yourself...or that part of yourself that is so self-deprecating as to be self-destructive. It is why so many offices of so many shrinks are filled with so many artistic types as they have listened too long to that voice inside. We have the child within, but human nature being what it is, we also have the demon within to contend with. My Dr. Jessica Coran in the Instinct titles is constantly struggling with this dark shadow that crawls up out of her and shares her private moments with her--even in bed alone or rather almost alone.
Rob (who like Twain was born modest, but it wore off...but figure in this, I have had a long time to contend with my demons)
"Dead On takes the reader's capacity for the imagination of horror to stomach turning depths, and then gives it more twists than a Georgia backroad that paves an Indian trail." - Nash Black