Misfortunes, like buses, never come singly! Currently, I have no potatoes on my allotment, slugs have eaten all my bean plants, I have had to gaffer-tape another bit of my car and my cat has cystitis.
You have problems? Believe me, you do not have problems.
There has been a lot of blog-chat about negative reviewing, lately. We have shared my opinion on this in an earlier post, but I thought I'd throw my twopennyworth into the hat once again. So here goes. Firstly, although many of the 'reviewers' on sites like Amazon certainly can be most unpleasant about a book - tho' they've probably never written one in their lives (on the 'those who can't write, criticise writers basis), at least they don't attack the writer him/herself.
The same cannot be said in other areas. As some of you know, I am the Chair of a local action group, fighting to save a playing field from being sold off by the council to a developer. This involves maintaining a very high press profile, which I have been doing for 3 years now. Letters in the local papers twice a month, articles quoting me etc. When I had my tattoo done in Feb, I even used that to get further press coverage for our campaign.
The abuse I get from supporters of the council, or from some councillors themselves is amazing! Think of all the nasty things you could say about 'hedges' and you've got some idea of the rubbish that gets sent in to the papers slagging me off. It is nasty and it is personal. Do I care? I did when I read the first one. It upset me a lot - mainly that someone could be so petty-minded not to see the big picture. Now I just shrug, and use it to frame a witty, sarky, put-down 'reply'. Hey, if they give me the oxygen of publicity, I'll take it. If I'm being criticised, then I'm rattling cages, and that is good.
So as an activist, and as I writer, I will get criticised, constructively or not. If I can't handle it, then I shouldn't put myself out there. But I will, and so will you, because we just love what we are doing, and we want to share it with others. Besides for every put-down, there is someone who appreciates our efforts and gives us the sweet honey of praise.
The other point I want to make is that I am a published writer. So are many of you. But equally, many others are not. Sometimes we forget that there are thousands of our fellow scribes who have never had anything published ever, let alone reviewed.
We are so lucky to be at that stage where our books are bought and read. I keep all my rejection letters, because it is good to remind myself of the journey I have been on to get here. So I thought I'd end this blog by sharing one little gem of a letter. It's from a very well known literary agency, and runs thus:
'' I am very selective in the clients that I take on and I was not sufficiently enthusiastic about your work to be able to offer to handle it.''
The 'work' in question was a teen novel called 'Jigsaw', which was eventually taken by OUP, went up for 2 awards and was on the Carnegie long-list. Gentle blog-readers, I rest my case.