Sunday, September 19, 2004

a big chicken, baby, stupid-head weenie

I don't know what's wrong with me lately. Maybe it's because I'm on sabbatical and trying to get away from the worries of being a professional writer. Maybe my guts diminish each year, like melting ice, or evaporating kool-ade that leaves just that dry skin of red sitting there like a circus ring at the bottom of the cup.

I can't log on and read my Amazon reviews anymore. I don't want anything to do with reviews in magazines. In fact, I think I've become allergic to critics-armchair and otherwise. And it doesn't matter if it's good stuff or bad. I just don't want anything to do with any of it. I've written on this here before. But it's getting worse. Am I just being a big chicken? Or do I need to remove myself from such influence to create in a more pristine fashion?

I'm hoping it's the latter. If you've got pros and cons of both, I'd love to hear them.




Blogger MtLaurel said...

Lisa, just my take: I think it's both a healthy sign--and a wise move--that you're avoiding reviews, critiques, etc. Whether a review or a critique is positive or negative, it's still nothing more, nothing less, than personal opinion and can be motivated by a number of factors. It seems to me a writer can be misled by even the most glowing terms--perhaps these are the worst, because it's tempting to start believing what we read.

The thing is the writing. Whether we read the reviews or not, it's still all about the writing. Experience, study, lots of reading--these can make the writing better. Reviews of either stripe seldom will.


September 19, 2004 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

lisa, i think it's wise. there is not criteria to being a critic anymore. any fool can criticise. there are people who make fake-careers at amazon by trashing other people real careers. i think it's just plain wrong.

most of the positive reviews have been found to be the authors themselves or shills for them, while the negative ones are the same people bashing their opposition and trying to 'guide' people to their own books.

i think the only people who should really be able to be critics are people who have earned that right, or have written or prouduced something themselves.

it's a nasty world out there, and i highly recommend you protecting yourself from it! steals your serenity, and nothing is worth that. and you are NOT a big chicken, baby, stupid-head weenie!

September 19, 2004 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Hi Lisa,

I agree with what's being said. Other than your trusted friends or people used as readers, and your editor, I'd stay away from the critique of others. What's it going to do for you? Give you a false sense of yourself? Depress you? Probably both. But it won't improve your writing and it certainly won't help.


September 19, 2004 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

hey lisa, the only person you have to satisfy with your artistic expression is yourself. you cannot control the hearts and minds of others so there is no use worrying about them. i run into this kind of thing all the time in the musical world. there will always be people who think you suck, and there will always be those who think you are an amazing writer. neither of those opinions matter. it is only within yourself that artistic achievement can be satisfied. believe me, i know this is all easier said than done.

also, it helps remembering that most people who review books are reviewing books cause they don't have the bravery to open themselves up to the same criticism you have. having that bravery is, by itself, a victory for any artist.

if someone tells me my band sucks, i ask them where their band is playing tonight? that usually shuts them up.

September 20, 2004 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Michele Hastings said...

Hi Lisa,I've only seen one review so far of the book I wrote "The Homeschooling Trail...A Journey of Faith" and it was disappointing. The reviewer liked and recommended my book but referred to one of my sons as "academically challenged". Neither of my boys LIKE academics, and as the reviewer also mentioned, the older one was a late reader who prefers to learn in a "hands-on" way, but I am disappointed that that's the impression she got after reading my book. Anyway, my point is that we just have to put our stuff out there as best we can and leave the results in God's hands. Everyone reading our books is coming from a different perspective and therefore will see it differently. My editor kept on nagging at me about my book being too negative. Then a fellow homeschooler read it and she too gave me the impression that it was negative. Now I'm reading it to my sons (as a read-aloud) and I'm halfway through and don't think it's negative at all. It's real. I give the up, down, good and bad of homeschooling and life in general. But I wouldn't say it's negative. So although we long for affirmation through good reviews on what we've really hurts to read bad ones. I'd say go ahead and read them but take them for what they're worth...just one person's opinion...and who knows what perspective they're coming from. Sometimes it depends on WHEN we read something or listen to a song etc. Sometimes the timing is just right and it's the perfect fit. Other times it's not and it does nothing for us. But that doesn't make it a bad book or us bad authors.Chin up Lisa. I know it hurts. But at least you're doing what you want to do. I love that comment from that guy in a band."Where is YOUR band playing tonight?" LOL

September 20, 2004 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Paula said...


I just returned from a writer's conference where I won your book, "Intuition." I read it yesterday as I came down off the conference. Now, after reading beautiful writing like that a person could really start to doubt herself. :o)

At the conference my passion and dreams seemed possible. I turned to my wonderful four children and dear husband and home schooling . . . and cooking . . . and laundry . . . and a pile of other stuff. It all crashed upon this tired writer momma like a tidal wave. I could doubt my calling to write.

And I'm tempted to doubt LOTS of things today.

But I don't doubt Christ. I don't doubt this passion He placed in my heart. I don't doubt that He can do through me whatever He wants to.

And so, this isn't about me . . . or you, really. It isn't about critiques or sales or anything else. The question is: did God put the passion in you to write? Of course. Do you believe He can write through you? You bet!

What are comments on Amazon compared to that??

BTW, Francine Rivers was keynote speaker and she told us she protects herself from numbers and promotions and anything that distracts her from the ability to just focus on God and what He wants her to write.

So--I'm hanging onto the truth that God is in me and can do this through me. . . and I'm determining not to let self-doubt cloud the truth down deep in my heart--that God gave me this passion to write and will direct its path.

Sending a prayer your way.

Oh, and Michele, I didn't think your book, Homeschooling Trail, was negative at all. I thought it was refreshingly real and positive!

September 20, 2004 at 6:05 PM  
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October 18, 2005 at 1:14 AM  
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