Seriously, Maybe, I don’t know? I have had this thought recently. The thought that I’d like to fold up everything, my blog, my twitter account, facebook page and even my novel until it’s a tiny little package that I can hide away inside my heart where no one can ever see it again. Because sometimes I think, this shit is too hard. Far too hard. And my old life, before all this begins to look really appealing. And to think I used to think that life was stressful!
If you are thinking about publishing something, ask yourself this question, are you ready to be hated? And I don’t just mean like someone sitting at home, reading your stuff thinking to themselves, this is bloody shit! No, I mean someone taking to some public website where they will feel free to post their opinion of your work. And not just their opinion, but their opinion laced with snark, meant to trash your creative product. It’s like they want to punch your main character in the face, but guess who will be the one to feel that hard knuckle punch? Yup, it’s you. Can you handle that?
Some days I think, yes I can handle it. I don’t (as I used to like to say in the old days with my friends) give a shit or a fuck. But other days, you do give a fuck, you give a very very large fuck because this is so personal to you. What other careers or endeavors in the world give you the kind of public humiliation and public hatred that an author receives? There are a few, but most people in the world will never, ever have the guts to take this kind of criticism, even if they can dish it out. Even me…EVEN ME..I’ve given a negative review before, I’ve gotten snarky, so now that I’m on the other side, I’m realizing what it feels like. It feels like hell.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not into this everyone be nice to everyone all the time bullshit. I’m certainly not down with that. People need to be part of the real world. It sickens me to see people being super nice to each other, refusing to tell the truth, letting people think that terrible horrible shit is actually a masterpiece. That bugs me. So…that is why I’m accepting the hate. I’m trying to use it as a learning experience. But that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes contemplate for days on end killing my own novel because I’m afraid it’s shit. It’s not really the negative review that hurts so much, it’s the thought that the scales might tip in favor of the negative and what on earth will you do if everyone hates your book, or if most people hate your book? Do you then, unpublish it? Do you rip it from the shelves?
And through it all, the stress of letting the negative get to you despite the positive you get as well (and why does the positive always always count for less than the negative?) you start to hate your novel and wonder why on earth you thought it would be okay to tell your own story through fiction? Really, was that such a good idea? Is it doing what you wanted it to do? And you start to hate yourself, your self of the not so distant past because you were an idiot. As usual, you didn’t know, what you didn’t know. Now you know. You thought, stupidly, that no one could hate on your novel because you were honest. You were SO HONEST you made yourself CRY!! But honesty doesn’t matter! Well…it does, to those that understand your honesty, but to those that don’t, your honest is inauthentic, your honesty is INCONCEIVABLE!! (Said through the voice of that guy from the Princess Bride!). Yes.
And you thought, like an idiot, well, since I’m tackling a mental health issue for the greater good, trying to describe how it feels, surely people will feel me! Even if they hate it, they will see the greater good I am trying to accomplish!? Nope. Sit back down girl, they don’t get it or care. It’s a novel, just like any other.
So at the end of the hard long day, what do you do? You begin to question your worth as a writer, as an author, you begin to wonder if all along you’ve been doing the right thing. Is your blog too wild? Was your novel too honest? Were you really yourself or some kind of overblown version of you that offends people? People in real life don’t hate you, so what have you done to create hate in the online world? And these doubts and fears are not going to go away. Nope. They are here to stay, although there will be good days and bad days. So for right now, I’m not going to do anything. I’m going to hold the status quo, I’m going to wait it out and see how I feel. I’m going to focus on my new novel and forget about Angst, because Angst is giving me Angst and I’m starting to hate it. I really am. It’s love/hate.
But then this morning I posted something to my Facebook page about make it or break it. I want to be MADE. Like the made men…the gangstas, the mobsers! And the only way to truly be made is through fire, through blood, through tears and through pain. I certainly don’t want to be broken, no way. So…I soldier on! I pick myself up, because there are people who feel me, there is positive feedback and that’s all that really matters. The truth of the matter is that you haven’t made it unless someone hates you, unless you’ve suffered and the things that are worth it in this world are only worth it because they are hard. I’mma come outta this…a Made Author, one of the mob.