Since it’s been a while from the last post, I wanted to begin fleshing out an article on the subject of rejection, especially in terms of the initial stages. Though this does not relate to the reasons for my decision to put writing aside for the time being, it does relate to the sentiments I have received with respect to what was written and said previously prior, during, and throughout the process of writing a book. My interests have gone from initial excitement to dullness and embarrassment to initially returning to my passion. Personally, I think most people will benefit if I share some of the experiences I have undergone and the self-examinations in retrospect. Thus, my hopes for the audiences, particularly, the reader, will find this information helpful.
Before I give a little bit of myself away, let me begin by discussing how I took interest into writing. As a kid, I can remember the multiple times I have spent investing my time and space into (well. . .) paper, specifically paper products. Notebooks, printing paper, markers, pens, envelops, you name it, etc. was a thing of personal interest to me. In some cases, even the world of books was something that took my interest. In many ways, my parents would always point out that I was taking out books that most of the time I wasn’t reading—even though I’ve wanted to have a type of connection with the books. There was always this desire to learn about the world of book writing, but somehow lacked the connection between the paper and books, which in this case, were the words.
As I grew older, I knew that one of the unique things about my being is the ability to write poetry, short story, plays, etc., especially when the opportunity arose for them. For a time, while I was in grade school, I remember churning out one short story after another after another for the sake of wanting to write. I didn’t realize that I had a unique desire to write at such a young age, but my teacher noticed my desires to write wasn’t a small feat per se. However, those decisions had come to a clearer picture when I came to realize that (at the end of high school) I needed to pick a major that was going to benefit me in the long run, which, as it turns out, writing was something I can learn to craft.
Flash forward to the post high school and early college years.
I was working hard on my first book, The Resurrection, trying to flesh out a few different versions of the same novel, except a few things were coming to play: (1) how to write the story, (2) how to create the plot line, and (3) how to deal with the criticism that came from points one and two. In many ways, I have come to resolve point three with one amazing word: ignore.
Ignore, the critics.
Under normative circumstances, where some of criticism does present validity, criticism should be taken into consideration, especially when it comes from people who share similar experiences as the author does. However, if this comes from peers who chose to perch on your shoulders, telling you about the impossibility of writing a book, how stupid it is, how lame the book is going to come out, then heed the advice above: ignore them.
A lot of the initial criticism about my book came from the immediate family, especially mom. While I appreciate mom’s feedback (she did read frequently), I also knew mom wasn’t aware about the process of writing. To some extent, she acted like book writing came about whenever someone decided to go to the loo—only instead of flushing the toilet, you’re coming out with a new title. If writing books were this simple, I would load myself with a steady diet just to get the right titles that would end up as a New York Times Bestseller. Unfortunately, this method of writing doesn’t work out this way—being committed to the other half of the book writing was something I had determined to go with, which I never mentioned to my parents personally.
And that’s this: if you’re willing to go to the realm of editing and criticism for not writing the story right, then ignoring immediate family is the right thing to do.
I chose not to listen to family advice; none of them were professional experts in the field of writing, and much to their embarrassment, they weren’t willing to discuss the other length of book writing, which (for the most part) consisted of editing, and lots of that. Fortunately, I knew that editing was something I needed to do; however, writing out the story line was more important, which I managed to do within the first year of its inception. By the time college finished for me, I realized that additional editing was needed which demanded a lot more time than I initiated as both author and entertainer.
But in terms of coping with this kind of criticism, if you are willing to grow thick skin and not be dependent on coddled criticism for writing something, then writing is definitely for you, especially if you’re going to write books because, someone’s going to find something grammatically and structurally incoherent about your writing. If you’re willing to go back to the writing, and re-draft the book altogether to make the audience happy, then no, you no reason to listen to the audience; they’re not book experts like you and I are. They’re not going to write, edit, re-draft, re-craft, trash, repair, etc. a manuscript, put it on the shelves, find an agent etc.
These are not those kinds of people—YOU ARE.
Thus, the reason why I managed to survive the book writing process, despite the criticism and ridicule from family members. I knew that I needed resources, and in terms of book writing, I needed lots of them, which is what I did to help shape my thinking throughout the course of book writing. If you’re willing to write and edit, then coping with this lag of criticism is not something that is going to be a problem for you.
Sadly, many would-be, wanna-be, got-to-be authors don’t think about the commitments behind book writing; to the contrary, they see book writing the way my mom saw it—go to the loo and get a title.