The writer’s ego …

The Secret Place

… what a frail thing it is!

I guess when you’ve ripped words out of your soul and are baring them to the world, then any criticism of those words is like a dagger to the heart.

Currently I’m involved in posting successive chapters of my new book, The Secret Place, on to a couple of sites that enable other writers to critique your work. One of these is www.critiquecircle.com and the other is www.YouWriteOn.com.

Each time I’m told I have a new critique of my work, I rush to the site to see what people have said, hoping it’s going to be good news. Luckily, it mostly is. But as soon as there’s a hint of criticism I begin to panic – is this person right? Are they the only one with a realistic opinion of the piece? Should I disregard all the positive ones … ?

Thankfully, I’ve been doing this a long time and have had my work reviewed and critiqued many times. It still hurts, but I can live with it. I’ve come to realise that criticism is always a personal thing – that is, the individual critiquer’s point of view can be coloured by many influences: their experience, their preferences for the kind of writing they like, even, sad to say, their mood.

So these days I take it with more of a pinch of salt.

Which isn’t to say that I’m not pleased as punch that The Secret Place is currently at no. 6 in the top 10 at YouWriteOn! If I can get it in the top 5 – and it stays there for a month – then it will be read by an agent. And who knows what might happen next?

(See, my ego is taking over again … !)

Keith

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The writer’s ego …

  1. jaterry

    “Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one.”

    -William Strunk & E.B. White, in The Elements of Style, 3rd ed.

  2. I’ve learned a lot through critiques that fellow writers have done for me. I quickly developed a thick skin, it always hurts a little but I try to put my feelings aside and read the critiques objectively. Once I make some changes it all sounds better and then when I get to write again I try not to make the same mistakes. It takes time and practice, and I’m always willing to listen to others who are better writers than me.

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