Confession

I got a bad review. Or rather my book did.

Everyone gets bad reviews. I know that.

Weeeeelll…my head knows it. My heart has trouble remembering. It’s a pretty easy thing to forget when you get that nasty review.

Dealing with a bad review isn’t easy. Though everyone has their own way, I thought I’d share what has worked for me.

1. Writing about it. It might sound ironic but writing about painful stuff helps me. I either journal about it or I write it into a blog post :-). Writing is cathartic and helps me get it out.

2. Sending out positive energy. I find that if I send it out, it comes back to me. So, when I need support, I try to send it out. When I need a kind shoulder, I try to be kind to someone around me. If nothing else, at least I feel better about myself.

3. Working out. We have this punching man downstairs and these great boxing gloves. I go down there and punch that guy in the face until all that anger and frustration is gone. Or I go to the elliptical and run or I head to the gym. Anger is a great motivator. I can get amazing work outs thanks to those nasty reviews.

4. Sharing with other authors. I know there are trolls online but I have found amazingly supportive people in the web. I can go to them and share my misery. Odds are, they’ve had a bad review and can identify with me. If not, they’re Nora Roberts…no, wait she’s had bad reviews as well.

5. Kissing my doggies. They don’t care if I’ve get bad reviews or bad hair, they love me unconditionally and trust me. I can kiss those furry heads and tell them all my troubles and they just listen. No judgement.

6. Working at DayJob. I work with the public. Within five minutes of being at work, I’ll have an impossible demand; within ten, someone will be shouting at me. I’ll come back to my computer glad that at least that review was written and not shouted.

A nice list, with nice items. They hurt no one and are good, mature choices.

What follows is a more immature list. Choices that, so far, I’ve managed to avoid. Please notice the ‘so far’. The next bad review will probably send me over the edge.

* Throw away the computer.

* Send the author of that review a nasty email calling them every name in the book and a few I’ve just invented.

* Start a Voodoo doll.

* Go to Tibet and join a monastery.

* Take up Wicca and conjure up a spell. Or two.

* Give up writing and take up playing the banjo.

Absolutely ridiculous list. Time for some maturity. Let’s have some links.

-Try this link and see what works for other authors from Writer Unboxed.

This one is from Digital Book World and has great tips.

One more from The Write Life.

What about you? Have you had a bad review? How did you handle it? What helped? Any other items you’d add to the ‘immature’ list?

How about some cute baby animals? They always make me feel better…

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Awww….

Awww!

8504326519_37f41d5551_zAwww!!! Okay, feeling a little better.

 

The need for self-care

I see burnout every day at my DayJob. We work with the public and they can always use more of your time, your services or simply you. It’s really hard to put a boundary and say no but the alternative is burnout.

Writers experience burnout too. Driven by the thirst to find that elusive dream, I push myself and then push even more. Some times, I push too hard. I lose perspective. That’s why self-care is so important.

Jennifer Gresham wrote a fantastic post on burnout in her blog Everyday Bright. She warns about the danger of overachieving. “In my experience, dreams multiply over time. The more you accomplish, the more you will want and expect to accomplish.”

I don’t think she’s telling us to settle and not dream. I think she’s telling us not to burn out and to not miss out on what we already have accomplished. “The real tragedy is that my dreams often take away from the richness and joy I have in my life right now. …My #1 dream is to enjoy the life I have, not the life I think I should have.”

This is a topic that I don’t want to talk about. I don’t want to hear that my dream is taking away from my life. I’d like to hear how to keep writing and become more successful. But that’s denial and that won’t get me very far.

I loved Jennifer’s message and I want to thank her for having the courage to be honest instead of just pretending everything is fine.

She’s not alone. Here’s Barbara O’Neal’s post on writer burnout from Writer Unboxed and Shawn Coyne’s very positive post on the same subject from Steven Pressfield‘s awesome blog. And, one more for the road, this resourceful post on coping mechanisms for writers by Laekan Zea Kemp.

A big thank you to these writers for great, inspiring posts!

On gift-giving

I don’t like to give Christmas presents. I know that makes me sound like the Scrooge but I really don’t. I find it…well, silly.

Before you condemn me, imagine this, if you will. I’m at a store, smelling different creams, wondering if my friend (let’s call her Gwedoline because it’s a delicious name) will like coconut or prefer cucumber. I wrack my brain trying to think if she smells more like the tropics or a cool salad and finally make a decision and buy one of the creams. Meanwhile, Wendy (aka Gwendoline but she goes by Wendy for friends) is at another store, sniffing hand lotion and wondering if I prefer the one that smells like cinnamon (I don’t) or the one that smells like vanilla (I like unscented, Wendy! Unscented!). I’ve stood countless times in different stores buying stuff for friends wondering what scent they’d like or if they were scent-sensitive.

I do draw the line at kids. Kids need presents and they’re the exception to my no-gift rule. But adults? Hm…nope.

Instead of buying gifts, I like to choose a charity and donate the money I would have spent on gifts to it. Isn’t that an awesome idea? I choose my charities with care every year. I visit them and see what they do and ask questions and…then I give the money away and I feel all…., well, all Christmassy (not a word, I know). This year, I chose the Salvation Army.

I have told my grown up friends: don’t give me gifts. Don’t do it. Save your money. And, I go and do my own giving to the charity of that particular year and I simply love the idea.

So, what do you think? Am I missing out on a vital part of Christmas? Should I reconsider? Or is this a good idea?

By the way, we got more snow. Tons of it. I think Mother Nature’s lost it. If this keeps up, we might have to dig out the house. Yes, Fuzzy Tail is delighted.

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I want a pyjama day

We have freezing rain and ice pellets coming our way for the next two days. Open the weather website and you’re met by a wall of red followed by warnings of different types of dangerous weather approaching. If you’re courageous or crazy enough to drive anywhere, you find line ups so long those at the front still dress in 80’s gear.

I say, don’t fight it, surrender to it. Have a pyjama day.

A pyjama day involves one day of planning ahead of time. You need easy-to-prep food available, movies and/or books, writing stuff, drawing/painting stuff (or whatever-you-like-to-do-stuff) and clean, comfortable pjs (though jogging pants can do in a pinch).

A pyjama day is a day where you do nothing, nothing, that involves effort. You stay home, shower or not depending on mood, answer the phone or not, again depending on mood, and basically relax, read, watch TV and veg all day. It might sound ridiculous and silly but, when you work full-time, there are days when doing absolutely nothing is simply delicious.

A day of nothing but reading is something sent from heaven above. It’s specially nice if you have food ready for you in the fridge (There’s no way you can leave in pyjamas to go and get milk for coffee. This must be ready before you start your pyjama day). Or you can do nothing but sit and watch TV…or nothing but play with play dough if that’s your wish. A pyjama day is self-care to the extreme. Like an all-inclusive holiday, but at home.

I highly recommend one.

(credit:positivelypositivity.com)

(credit:positivelypositivity.com)