Every Writer Sucks
July 28, 2007
Get an idea. Write. Edit. Sigh, "Finally my masterpiece is finished." Take a week off. Look at your masterpiece. Exclaim, "What was I thinking? This sucks!" Get new idea. Repeat. Submit for publication. Hope publisher doesn't realize how much your masterpiece sucks. Get rejected. Get rejected. Get rejected. Get published! See reviews by critics and readers who declare that your masterpiece sucks. Start new masterpiece.
It happens to every author, even your favorite author, even award winning authors with bestsellers.
Humble Yourself; Everyone Starts at the Beginning
Nobody is born with a talent to write. Each of us develops it. Think of your favorite writer. I guarantee you that she has made inferior pieces of work. I guarantee you that at some point, somebody told her she wasn't good enough. At some point, somebody told her that she would never make it as a writer. Don't believe me?
Try to get your hands on every piece of writing that your favorite writer has done. I promise you, you will eventually come across something that you dislike. You may even gasp, "That piece of trash couldn't have possibly come from her." Usually, these hideous works come from the early years, the beginning, but you do sometimes find them written later in the writer's career.
Humble Yourself; Everyone and Everything is Your Mentor
You don't need to search for a mentor. Mentors are all around you. Your mentor doesn't even need to be a writer. A child is the perfect mentor when you are writing a book for children. A tree is the best mentor when you're writing about trees. Teenagers are the best mentors when you're learning new slang. Just open your senses to the world around you.
Stop Taking Rejection Personally
When somebody doesn't like you're work, they're not suggesting your a bad person, so don't take it so personally. Nobody is saying that you're worthless as a human being. Nobody is saying that you will never have the ability to write a best seller. They're just saying that they don't like the specific piece of work that they've read.
Maybe it really does need some work. Don't become defensive because the editor or agent is doing his job and weeding out the stuff that isn't quite up to the publishers' standards yet. Instead, ask for constructive criticism (you won't always get it, but you can ask), and let yourself be open to suggestions. Remember, these professionals have been working in the writing industry for a long time and have seen lots of new writers, successful and otherwise, come and go. Don't see them as opponents blocking you from your goal. Use them as mentors to help you writing skills grow.
Your work will get rejected. Your work WILL get rejected. YOUR WORK WILL GET REJECTED. Be prepared for it. Expect it. Learn from it, and just keep trying.
If you really can't stand the thought of a publisher rejecting your work, then publish your work yourself. If you really think a publisher should invest money in your work, and the publisher says "no," then invest your own money. If you think strangers should spend time getting the word out to people to publicize your writing, but they won't do it, then spend your time to do your own marketing. We live in an age of easy self-publication; use it.
For Whom Are You Writing
I know your favorite author's horror novels have been on the best sellers lists for years, but I don't like his work. It's nothing personal. I'm sure his horror writing is amazing, but I'm just not a big fan of horror stories, so I'm not likely to say that I like his work.
If you are writing stories for your children, then the only opinions that really matter are your children's. If some guy on the other side of the country says he doesn't like it, but your children think it's great, who cares if he's not a fan of your work?
If you're writing for the horror genre audience, who cares if a romance genre critic doesn't like your work? Let your loyalty be to your audience.
Maybe You Just Suck at a Particular Genre
I know your favorite, bestselling horror author has written a romance story, but the romance novel audience isn't impressed with his romance novel work.
Likewise, you may write excellent westerns, but fairytales just don't seem to work for you. This doesn't mean you shouldn't try to write fairytales. It just means that you'll have to work harder to win over the fairytale audience, even if you already write best selling, award winning westerns.
If you feel that your work just isn't at the level you wish it were, try writing for a different genre. Maybe you just haven't found your calling yet.