I received a two star review a few days ago, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about writing. I could give you my opinion of that reviewer, and why she gave me that review, but the fact is you cannot please everyone.
You also cannot shrug those reviews off. Readers are your customer. You must instead ask, “How can I do a better job?” If 20% of your readers give negative feedback, explore how you might improve customer satisfaction to lower that number to 10%. That bad review could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Basketball players sometimes fret about missed shots. I disregard the missed shots and focus on making a swisher—a shot that passes through the hoop without touching the rim or backboard. Swishers have a pleasing sound that screams bulls-eye! Even with closed eyes, you can appreciate a swisher. On your writing journey, do not sweat the missed shots, and treasure the swishers.
Being a writer demands risk taking and dedication. Open doors you wouldn’t normally open. Ask questions you’re afraid to ask. Say yes to challenges you’re terrified of. Write at work. Write in the restroom. When your muse is on fire, never say no to it even if it is 3AM. Write every chance you get and always strive to improve.
Do not be afraid to discard a paragraph, chapter, or entire manuscript, and start over. Accept that most of what you write is garbage, but hidden in that garbage is a priceless gem. You may have to go through a truckload of garbage to find it, but when you do, you will be glad that you never gave up.
Whether it is a blog post or a novel, do not be in a rush to publish. A typical novel goes through four rounds of editing. Blog posts deserve equal scrutiny. Slow down and enjoy the ride. The finished product will reflect it. I found a university creative writing instructor, who for a very reasonable fee reviews every important piece that I write. Her assistance is priceless, and she welcomes the extra income and a chance to help a fellow writer.
After reading that two star review and making note of anything I could improve, I reread a few of my five star reviews and reminded myself why I chose to write in the first place.
Image courtesy of ToshioShare