Sunday, August 23, 2009

Riding the Roller Coaster that is the writer's/artist's life . . .


Did you know that I tossed around last night because I wrote about movies below, especially J/J? That I wondered if somehow someway someone connected to the movies would stumble across my blog and have their feelings hurt, or feel bad about something they’d felt so good about? That I wanted to erase the entire blog post of anything that could be considered negative in any way?


Why?


Because, I know how much love goes into what we do. How much work. Or sacrifice. Or time. Or all of those. I know that it’s easy for someone to come along and make comment on something they didn’t shed their blood and tears and sweat over, for that is what we do; we love talking about what we’ve read or seen or listened to—and frankly, the writer/artist/musician needs this, we do, for who wants to create our work in a vacuum where no one talks about it? We advertise it; we beg for your attention. We ask for it, and in the asking for it, we also set ourselves up for the ones who either shrug, or worse, who do not like us: Put your big panties on girls/boys and suck it up—that’s what we tell ourselves; we don’t care, we did what we love: that’s what we say; we stand by our work—and we mean it, however, in the dark, our brain swirls with it all, swirrllll swirrrrlllll swirrrrrllllllllll.

A person can receive thousands of glowing love notes on their work and one person says something negative, and if the writer/artist isn’t careful, that one negative thing can haunt. As ridiculous as that is, because of course the person should listen to the thousands of people who enjoyed their work, and not listen to that one person, right? Maybe. And I’m not saying this because I’ve received a bad review (yet?), for I’ve been incredibly lucky with reviews, and in fact, I’ve been astounded and relieved and pleased, and grateful.


But even so, I was braced for it, waiting, worrying, my stomach in knots—it was affecting my ability to write the next novel--yes, worrying over something that hasn't happened yet, craziness! My publishers, friends, and family finally said, “Stop this! Stop waiting for it and better yet, stop searching for reviews; stop going to Amazon and checking your ranking; stop stop stop—and just write the next book! Do what you love.” I stopped, I remembered why I do this—the love of language and words and my characters—the whole Thing of it all, this writing. The relief was palatable, to know I didn’t have to search and find every review and thank everyone for taking the time (well, actually, I want to thank everyone-very much so - because I am appreciative and grateful, but it is impossible to do it or else I'll never get my work done - so I try to say it here on my blog, my gratitude), and thus worry I’d stumble across something that would rip my heart out.

We writers/actors/artists/musicians need love *laughing* - no really. We need all the support and love we can get, because it’s a lonely business, and a scary one, and incredibly subjective. And what other career is so publicly scrutinized (well, the President is, for one, a job publicly scritinzed)? Can you imagine going into your job knowing that thousands of people are watching you work? And if you make a mistake, thousands of people see it, and not only see it, go write about it in newspapers and blogs and websites? Can you imagine that? But we go into this with our eyes open, don’t we? Welllllll, sometimes. But sometimes maybe we aren’t quite prepared for all of it. Would I trade it away though? Nope—the roller coaster ride is scary as hell, but it’s also thrilling. Up and down and around and up up up up up uP UP UP UP UP, DOOWWWWWWWWWARGGHSAAIYEEEEEENNNNNNNNN, up up up up up up up, AROUND THE BEND _AIYEEEEEEE GET ME OFF OF THIS RIDE--AUGHHHHH…..oh, is it over?let’s do it again!
(just found this cartoon~ haw~!)

Did I see too much of myself in Julie? Is that what really bothered me? That craving for attention at the risk of my friends and family and living my life outside of this fiction world I love so much? Coming to my blog or looking for those reviews or who has bought my book or what is my ranking on amazonmonster or or or, and thinking, “Do they love me? Am I loved? Am I Loved? AM I LOVED?” Or, perhaps I really just found the husband’s eating habits so annoying it tainted the other scenes (laughing! – growing up, my brothers knew my Achilles heel about smacking food; once they found out this, oh boy … smack smack smack –haw haw – sister’s getting mad!).


I feel this, well, responsibility now to be gentle with other writers (and other artists). And that is why I tossed around last night. Wishing I’d been more positive. The odds of anyone connected to any of the movies below coming by my blog and having their feelings hurt is about 1,0000000000000 to 1; however, it doesn’t matter, because I felt I’d somehow betrayed a fellow artist(s).


Here’s the way it is. Imagine one-hundred people reading a book, or watching a movie. Ninety of those people come away happy. They rave about the book/movie. They are grinning and excited. They write about it on their blogs, they tell their friends. Eight of those people thought it was okay. They enjoyed it all right, but it wasn’t the best thing they’d ever read/seen—they may or may not blog/tell friends, etcetera. Two of those people just did not like it, and they blog about it and tell their friends how disappointed they are. Now, who is right? All of them are right. Because it is a subjective, personal thing. It’s the business.


You simply cannot please everyone, my friends, so do what you love and do it the best you can and then sit back and pat yourself on the back: Well Done my friend. Good Job. You did it. Accomplishment should not be taken away from you by anyone. But put on your big girl panties and take it. I know what we lose, even while we gain. And it doesn’t matter whether you are famous, or not famous. The blood and sweet and tears that go into what we do leaves us a bag of bones sometimes. We love it, we need it, we crave it—but we pay for it, and so do the ones who love us.


That’s what I had to say this morning. I feel renewed and ready to get to work. Onward ho . . . WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ride that roller coaster!


I'll be back tomorrow with more tidbits on "cleaning up your manuscript."

google images from: http://www.insidesocal.com/bargain/RollerCoaster.gif

http://www.taramoore.com/fantasy-roller-coaster-broken-rail-2.jpg

11 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

I've often said, "Writing and trying to sell fiction has more ups and downs than the bed-springs of a bordello."

Janna Qualman said...

Oh yes, I need heaps and heaps of love and adoration. *grin* It's a piece of what keeps me writing.

Strange Fiction said...

Love the way you cleared your brain before moving on to 'cleaning up the manuscripts'!

T. Anne said...

So true! How quick we are self depricate, so it comes only naturally that we embrace rejection so completely. (Note to self...must change!) :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Someone once said, "Writers write because we can't NOT write." Intentional double negative there! I've known people who dream of writing but they can't seem to stick through all of the struggles. Many of us just keep going because we love it so much, we can't seem to stop, even if it means never being published (for those of us still unpublished).

Analisa said...

So true.
I left a comment on a blog that made me wonder if I sounded too aggressive. I wasn't mean or nasty, but I thought about it for a couple of days after hoping I didn't offend anyone. I looked at follow-up comments and no one rebutted me, so I felt better.

We all want to be thought kindly of. I think God wired us that way.

Only sociopaths don't care at all. Oh. Ok there I go again. Sorry to anyone who may not care at all.

But if that is the case, I don't have to apologize right? :)

K.M. Weiland said...

Great points. Although generally I leave names and titles out of critical posts, I've written specifically a time or two, usually without even thinking of the impact my words might have. My thoughts on this are twofold:

1) Our words should always be seasoned with grace. Very often, if you can't say something nice, it's better not to say anything at all. As artists ourselves we know how painful criticism can be.

2) The truth is the truth is the truth. I don't expect people to pull punches when explaining their opinions of my own work. If they hate it, that's entirely their prerogative, and I'll respect their opinion and their right to share their opinion. And so, I also feel that turnabout is fair play. If you're an artist and you're offering your work for public consumption you have to be ready and willing to take the criticism that goes right along with the praise... and, hopefully, learn from it.

Jill of All Trades said...

Oh Kate, This is how it is even for artists and most creative people, heck anybody who does a job/project. Cooking what they think is the best pie in the world only to have someone find the fault. Don't look, don't look, just push through and be proud with the wonder that you have presented us all to enjoy. (I should listen to my own words.)

Terri Tiffany said...

It is a roller coaster ride reading your post:) Love your real voice that comes through. Loved your point. So have you stopped searching those reviews and do what you do best?? Hope so:)

Jessica said...

Excellent post, and of course you're completely right. :-)
I'm glad you're getting good reviews, and I'm not surprised. :-)

Debbie said...

You're just so stinking nice. That's the whole problem! But, in a truly adorable way.
And I love the new header. Or has it been there and I've overlooked it?