Most writers know better than to read reviews. Good, bad, or indifferent, they just aren’t healthy for the writerly condition. It is a condition. A kind of mental disease, I sometimes think. Good reviews are wonderful and they stroke the ego for about two seconds, but then you start thinking–what if this next work can’t be as good? What if I fail? What if everyone pans it after setting such high expectations? There’s actually a long litany of how a good review can turn bad on a writer, but you get the point. Then the indifferent review is just as bad, because you think, mediocre? They gave me a mediocre meh! I thought it was so much better than that!! What if everything I write is meh and I don’t even know it? What if I’m one big pile of undifferentiated beige? And then there’s the bad reviews. These are always far more believable than the good reviews, because, writer–>mentally diseased with writerly neurosis. So you get a bad one, and it kicks you in the stomach because it confirms everything you suspected all along: you suck as a writer, your book is shit, and here are all the many ways that it sucks. Probably worst of all, it teaches you to distrust all your beta readers, your agent, and your editor, because obviously these people lied to you about your work. See? Writerly condition–>mental disease. I can say that right now, even as I’m lost in bad review wallowing land.
I shouldn’t read reviews. I mean, to some extent it’s my job to collect up those reviews and pass them along to the agent and editor and keep clips for promotional purposes, but at the same time, it’s idiotic because my writerly mental disease flares up whenever I read one. If I’m in the middle of tricky writing or slogging through a bout of “I suck as a writer” (more normal than not) then reading the reviews just makes things that much worse.
I read a review this morning. It slammed Trace of Magic, big time. So now I’m wallowing and trying to scrape my ego back together in order to be able to write. I want to make a declaration that I will avoid reviews until at least the WIP is finished. If I do so declare, I’m not sure my willpower will aid my resolve. But . . . I need to try. So I declare that I WILL NOT look at any reviews at least until Edge of Dreams (Tracer #2’s working title) is turned in. And hopefully I won’t after that, either. It ain’t healthy.
Reaching the end of another school week. Boy has done pretty well overall, and the girlie has begun band. Both seem happy, which makes me happy. Well, except I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a whole nother kettle of insomniac worms. And yes, I did just split another into two words.
I am working on getting Path of Honor back out at least as an ebook. Hopefully in the next month or so.
And now, to go get on the job. Oh, finished reading a cowboy romance by Kathleen Eagle called The Last True Cowboy. Wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, because yanno, no sf or fantasy elements, and not a regency, and no mystery . . . Basically not my usual story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was as much about the family relationships between a Grandmother, mother, and two daughters, as it was anything else. It was set in Wyoming on a ranch, which really brought memories back for me of growing up. The details were right and vivid. I’d recommend it.
And the theme music for today’s blog, as it seems appropriate: