Warning – I get a bit personal in this post so if you’re interested in some of my writing I’ve got a freebie for you – a gross little short story underneath this post about a food truck and a severed body part. It’s kind of a nasty little piece so…you know…if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing you won’t be disappointed. OK, onto the post.
I’ve gotten a few lousy reviews lately.
That’s OK. This is only the mildest of complaint and not really a complaint if you spin it the right way. To be honest, while it stings a bit because I’ve sunk dozens and dozens of hours into a story I think is worth telling only to have folks disagree with me, my overall philosophy is “shoot, I’ll get you next time.” Plus, I’ve noticed by reading a lot of reviews of my first novel that people experience art very differently. I stopped putting a lot of emotional stock in reviews when a couple commenters dinged “FantasticLand” for not having any rape in it.
That being said some of the bad reviews were from people I wanted to impress (I’m looking at you, Emily) so I went through a surprisingly rough night where my brain, which can be a bit of an asshole on occasion, had me convinced I had squandered my opportunities and essentially ended my writing career. Most writers deal with this sort of thing on occasion and my flavor has always been “imposter syndrome” so one critic saying she didn’t understand how anyone could give my book “Pack” a positive review is more than enough to do it.
Why bring this up on the day my second novel is officially put out into the world? Because I wrote a second novel a couple of critics hated and that’s a reason enough for me to celebrate. Because I wrote a second novel and it’s released today!
I know this smacks of the “everyone gets a trophy” mindset that everyone hates but that’s not quite what I’m getting at. For those of you who don’t know, I write novels in the nooks and crannies of my life – at the gym while my kid is in gymnastics, in the car when my kid is at piano, early mornings, late nights, weekends, holidays. I have an iPad with a keyboard attachment and pride myself on writing anywhere and at any time, pounding out a thousand words while mechanics change the oil in my car. That’s how I work and it’s how I have to work because I have a wickedly busy life and writing isn’t my main source of income, not by a long shot. It’s how I unwind, how I get through the day sometimes, how I vent frustration, how I feel accomplished, how I keep my brain from being the asshole it can sometimes be. In short, writing is the art that keeps me sane.
If you’re like me, you know what I’m talking about. You might have a job that pays the bills adult requirements that seem to come at you from all sides but you also play music or you act or you scrapbook or you paint or you want to do some of those things and if I have anything of value to tell you (other than a good story now and again) it’s to encourage you, with all my voice and brain and heart, to GO DO THAT THING! Buy a paint set. Start that Instagram account for your cat. Draw. Start that blog. Livestream your video games. I don’t care what you do but DO IT because while it might never be your financial escape from your adult life can be that thing that makes your life better, richer, happier.
I know a creative guy, a guy with a lot of passion and talent that I’m not going to name and I heard him say something once that broke my heart. He was asked how he was and he said “I spend all my time at work waiting to go home and spend all my time at home waiting to go to work.” This man is capable of art, I know it, but he chooses not to. How tragic. How desperate. How hopeless. I would rather live a life where everyone hated something I did then to never have never put anything out there and I have a second novel coming out so I’ve proven to myself that I will never be that kind of person and that’s worth feeling good about.
On the occasion of “Pack” coming out (now available at Barnes and Noble, audible.com and online everywhere) I want to say “thank you” for supporting what I do. It means so much to me, but I’d do it even if you didn’t buy the books. I’d do it because I want to put something out there and Iv’e done it and while it would have been awesome if certain reviewers had gotten a kick out of “Pack”, it’s not the end of the world. Far from it because my book is out and that’s always going to be something I did. Always.
Let me know when you “make your thing”. I’d love to support you. Now, onto that gross little short story I promised. Seriously, it’s kind of gross but, hey, I like it.