Friday, March 1, 2013

Publishing and/or Writing Pet Peeves and How I Solved Them

This month, MuseItUp authors will be showcasing an interesting theme throughout March:

Publishing and/or Writing Pet Peeves and How I Solved Them

First on the line-up is 'moi', and I have a few to share.

1- I love criticism of my work because it allows me as an author to grow, to 'see' what the beta reader is trying to tell me, and then to judge whether or not change is needed and how I should go about perfecting my work. My pet peeve, however, is when the criticism is sarcasm: "You sure you want to be a writer? Why don't you stick with hairdressing."

In some ways I owe this 'writer' a huge thanks because if it wasn't for that amazing criticism that naturally didn't pinpoint what he didn't like from my submission, I may not have pushed myself harder to prove him wrong. Did I have to prove him wrong? No. I am the only person I need to prove something to. 

As writers, you will come across this pet peeve where criticism may have nothing to do with your writing at all but more because of a lack of understanding as to what it is that motivates your long hours writing stuff that may or may never get published. Or it could be jealousy. Who knows?

I resolved this by pushing negative forces out of my way. That's not to say I push negative and good criticism out of the way. Oh no! Then a writer would be doing a big misfortune to their career if we didn't allow ourselves to listen and heed helpful comments. Remember that writing is an ongoing learning experience. The day a writer says "I know all that there is to know about writing." they are DOOMED!

2- "I really can't write like Stephen King/Nora Roberts/etc." And who says you have to write like them? That's another pet peeve that makes me 'ugh' when I hear these comments. It takes years of writing practice, redoing drafts, rewriting scenes, shaping characters to be their own other words, to find YOUR voice. If you sound like the ones above what really separates your writing from them and being considered a copycat? I never had to resolve this pet peeve only because I've always wanted to develop my own Lea Schizas voice.

3- "So, how much do you make as a writer?" hehehehe This sentence used to bug the beegeebees out of me until I finally came upon the perfect response: "So, how much do you make as a stock clerk/teller/manager/cook/waitress/etc?" Most of the time they'd shut up, then again you have a few who are proud to brag about their yearly income. At that point, I'd simply say, "Get outta here! Really? Wow, k, you beat me." And leave it at that. They'd be so full of themselves they would forget I didn't respond.

 First off, it's a pet peeve because no one has to know how much I do or do not make as a writer. That's my business. And my resolution was to simply ignore a straight answer by being sarcastic or shooting the same question back in their face.

There are so many more pet peeves I'd like to mention but invite you, our readers, to leave a few of your own and how you resolved them.

Make sure to visit our blog often and read what some of our authors also have to say on this subject.

Leave a comment in any posting and you have a chance to win your favorite MuseItUp ebook from our bookstore.


Harlie Williams said...

Criticism is the worst for me. Many people have laughed at me because they have said that a reviewer/blogger can NEVER be a writer. Oh really? So what does a reviewer/blogger do then?

Yep, they have been unfriended. :)

Marika Weber w/a Harlie Williams

Jenna Storm said...

Great post Lea. All good pet peeves. It puts them in perspective to hear another writer has experienced them.

Also, it's a good reminder to find your own voice, work process, etc... and not compare yourself to others.


Christine London said...

It does amaze me that many people still believe that to be a published author is to be rich, or at least very well off. Funny how we are one of the few creative/artistic sorts that the assumption seems to have stuck. Most such vocations are assumed to be 'starving artists/actors'

Perhaps as we continue on in the changing publishing world with the thousands of e-books both published in a standard method and self published, people will come to realize that the phrase should actually be 'starving writer'. lol.

Ah, but they do say one needs to suffer for one's art, so the years of learning and perfecting our craft are all part of a love for words.

Thanks for the entertaining and educational blog, Lea.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the insight, Lea. Yes criticism can be quite daunting. I used to blame reader ignorance. That got me nowhere. Now 99% of the time I accept it as writer-error and take a closer look. Any soul researching revision on a word, phrase, paragraph etc has to be a good thing.

And Harlie, I agree, writing reviews is quite a talent. Writers depend heavily on reviewers.

The money question -so rude, isn't it? It's like 'Oh, you're a runner, how many medals do you have?'

Penny's Tales said...

Very good, Lea. I need thicker skin when it comes to criticism and I can say that with complete honesty - LOL.

I like seeing how others handle it and thanks for that!

The how much do you make comments - Actually I was asked that by some students in a school library when I spoke there. I laughed and said, I could probably buy a few of you a soda after school. They laughed and let it go - shew!

Penny Estelle

Anonymous said...

I recall in the beginning when criticism stopped me dead in my tracks...I'd be so excited about what I was submitting to my Critique group I knew I'd just bowl them over with my brilliance...well, (LOL) imagine my reaction to having humble pie tossed at my face...a direct hit. *grins*

Thank goodness I toughed it out - and I did because I loved writing. I left the corporate world to do what I loved and I'll be damned if I wasn't going to improved to the point I'd get published. AND, I knew it would take discipline, writing courses, and hard a good mentor always helps:)

You're the best, Lea. An excellent writing coach besides all the other hats you wear.

Marsha said...

Gee, Lea,I can't immagine someone asked whether you thought you were really a writer. I've had some criticism that was tough to swallow, but my goodness! That's just plain rude.
I'm so with you, Kay Dee. I thought I had those words the best they could be, and yet my CPs eyes were sharper than mine. Talk about the knife to the heart. Many times in the early years, I walked away from those meetings wondering if I'd go back. But I did, and like you, I took the classes, went to conferences, rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. (The power of 3 from Margie Lawson and including the "and." LOL) Great place to start, Lea. Got the brain clicking.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Great post and great comments too. It is interesting to see how others react to criticism.
If not for the help/crit from critique groups and the support of other writers I would never have considered seeking publication.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

I agree with the criticism part. When I first started writing I took so much criticism I wondered if we were reading the same thing. Then when I went back I realized for the most part they were right in many instances. I learned to glean out the ones that would help me and ignore the ones that had no clue what I was writing. Now I change something when I get at least 2 people who have the same criticism.

I have always appreciated your honesty and ability to find good writing.:) Thank you for a great beginning to our month. It's fun reading all the pet peeves for someone else.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Lea, this is the rich and famous author J.Q. Rose...LOL...Appreciated your list of pet peeves, but especially enjoyed how you overcome them. Thanks for sharing.

Maddy said...

As a newbie writer I was terrified of my first critique meeting, but it has proved to be a fantastic forum. I think it must be the word 'critique' that's so off-putting, rather than appreciating the guidance and perspective from another pair of eyes.