“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points . . . where the doer of deeds could have done them better . . .
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . . who errs, who comes short again and again—”
Well, I’m no Teddy Roosevelt, the man who said these marvelous words. (Although I’ve practiced that facial expression, and scared my toddler.)
I’m just a middle-aged mom who’s skin is far too thin.
So I’m quitting.
In a way.
I’m not a person who does well with attention; praise, criticism—it all makes me exceptionally uncomfortable.
Yes, I’m overly sensitive (I don’t think that’s a particularly bad thing) and yes, I take things personally. So when I receive criticism—personal jabs about my writing, my editing (yes, it’s very, very hard to edit oneself—I admit it) and my personal views—I kind of break down.
I’m a wimp. While I’ve received a lot of wonderful and encouraging feedback on my book series, the few harsh comments cut me to the core and drain away my joy. That they appear on my screen where my books came to be—and that those barbs are sent to me directly via my blog and email—feels like a double gut punch.
I love writing. Well, at least, I used to.
I never claimed to be an “author”; that title connotes a sense of accomplishment.
I’m merely a drafter and dabbler. I wrote the books I wanted to read, and I fully acknowledge that others may not like them. There are a lot of popular books I’ve haven’t liked over the years, but it never occurred to me to directly bash those writers; I just accepted that I have different tastes than the authors, and let them be. (Especially if I got their books for free.)
I’ve read blogs on about how to deal with negative feedback, and all of them say to ignore it (easier said than done) or to realize it’s a criticism of my work, not me. But that’s never made sense to me: what I write is me. A stinging gibe stings me personally, not just my work. We are one and the same. I wished the compliments I’ve received could overwhelm the negativity, but I’m just not that mature yet, I guess. (I’ve heard that people get braver after 50; I hope that’s true.)
I still love my books and my characters. They will continue on, but not on Amazon. Once my commitment with the Kindle program is over, I’m going to “de-publish” my books, probably in June. But I will still keep them available on my website, as free pdf downloads. I’ll rework books 1, 2, and 3, and I’ll finish book 4, as well as books 5, 6, 7, and 8, and release all of them here—quietly and safely—over the next few years.
Maybe someday I’ll find my bravery again and put my heart out there again on a stick for the fire squads. Maybe I’ll even find the funds for an editor, or even try to get my books published “for real.”
But not right now. Financial needs also require me to stop pretending that I can make any money as a writer, and find instead more practical ways to pay a few bills. I’ll continue drafting and revising on the side, and I’ll post here about future releases.
In the meantime, forgive me for not being as brave as Perrin, or as outspoken as Mahrree, or as daring as Teddy Roosevelt:
“ . . . there is no effort without error and shortcoming . . . and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails greatly.”
Who wants to fail?
I ain’t no Teddy Roosevelt, so I’m going to go into hiding now. (Thanks to despair.com for the fantastic illustrations. Click on the images to order these posters.)