I’ll have another book review on the blog soon, for a children’s book this time. I got a very nice email from Brian Kittrell yesterday, the author of The Dying Times. I had emailed him to let him know that I had reviewed his book on my blog, but wouldn’t post it on Amazon because it was negative (I had originally said that I would review here and on Amazon). He responded with a great email about how he understands that not everyone will like his book or his writing, and that he tries to avoid the mindset that if someone doesn’t like his work that it’s him they don’t like. He put it very well here:
Sure, bad or negative reviews are hurtful to pride or a sense of accomplishment, but you just have to hold on to the fact that they’re not reviewing “you”, they’re reviewing a story that you wrote for a very specific purpose. It doesn’t devalue the author as a person, which I think many authors feel at first. I’ve even felt that way about a couple of very scathing reviews I’ve received, but I do have to take a moment and say, “Well, that person feels that way, so they got a copy of my book, and now we know that it wasn’t the right book for them.”
I think he’s definitely right about that. Not just authors, but all of us tend to take criticism of our work, whatever it is, as criticism of us as people. That’s just not the case. If someone doesn’t like an article I’ve written, it could be that they disagree with the subject matter, that they don’t like my writing style, that they don’t relate to either, that I need more practice, or any number of other reasons. It doesn’t mean they necessarily think I’m an idiot. It doesn’t mean I’m a talentless hack. It means that they didn’t like the article and, at worst, I should keep writing to get more experience and get better at it.
That’s why I committed to writing every day–to get better at it. I’ve used 750words.com on and off for a couple of months, and I signed up for their February challenge to write every day. I tried to do the same last month, but I missed a day because I was working on some articles and totally forgot to log in to the site. If you miss a day, you’re out. I like the site because it’s low pressure, but when you write consistently you earn badges. So every day, it’s quietly nagging you in the back of your head that if you don’t do your writing you’ll lose your badges and not earn new ones. That may sound silly to some, but for me any kind of positive reinforcement is a good thing.
I also liked Write or Die and used it quite a bit during NaNoWriMo, but that’s more to keep you writing once you start. Right now, it’s the starting that I need work on and finding time to write daily. Once I get going, I’m fine. So for now, 750words.com is the better choice for me. You can bet that if I do NaNo again or have an assignment due that I have to finish fairly quickly, I’ll be back on Write or Die.
In addition to 750words, I’ve been tracking my writing on my iPod Touch with the WriteChain app, which just tracks the number of words you write each day and how many days are in your “chain.” The program encourages you not to break the chain.
With that in mind, it’s time for me to get moving! I hope everyone has a productive day. Good writing!