This blog post is crazily long for me, but I truly cannot help myself. ID has been causing me serious problems again. Here is some background knowledge for you. In the early 19th century Sigmund Freud proposed there are three main components’ to our ‘psychic apparatus’. Dudes, and dudettes, I introduce ID, Ego and Super Ego. ID is impulsive. ID had me deciding it was my dream to become a published author resulting in me spending over two years bashing out a manuscript I hoped would make all my pie-in-the-sky dreams come true. There is more on that rascally devil ID later.
After months of writing, and more writing, and more writing, Ego comes along. All organized rationality and sensible logic, Ego makes me rewrite the damn thing again, taking into account the plethora of advice floating around the internet, and makes me research into countless books on query’s, synopsis (which are like devil pitchforks), before putting together a submission package. Upon deciding I was finished, I became ID’s proverbial bitch. It stroked me into contentment when doubts caused by horror stories of rejection emails, and manuscripts never being picked up made me worry.
Before I go on let me assure you I am intelligent, and successful in my everyday corporate profession, and considered myself a reasonable, easy going person, content with her lot in life. That was before I was mugged. Mugged one morning at 12:43AM. I sent a query to an agent and in less than five hours I had a rejection. I thought it took weeks! Was it that bad (twitch, gasp, twitch) that they couldn’t wait to stab me? A person I am naming Rejecter ran away with half my sanity cackling diabolically. Two lines. Let me repeat that TWO LINES was the time afforded to me in the rejection email I received to my first ever manuscript.
It’s kind of poetic really. Two lines for two years.
When I envisioned clocking said Rejecter around the head with my iMac then flying - tiger - crane style kicking her/him in the forehead I should have taken a deep breath, ticked the Agency of my list and moved on. Yes, well, in the last month I have discovered I am not a reasonable, and easy person when it comes to my writing.
Here is an account of the disillusionment and confusion that followed my first ever rejection. After an in depth and deeply emotional experience with Ben and Jerry I tried not to trip and break my ankle, stumbling into my bedroom. Riding high on indignation I shook my boyfriend awake, and tearfully told him of the cruel, evil Rejecter who had torn my heart out. He promised me I was not crazy, and that I was not suffering a myocardial infarction from the stress of the two lines burned onto the back of my eyeballs. And no, a hospital was not at this time deemed necessary. My boyfriend, though troubled by my sugar induced tirade, and declaration of war on the Agency who had sent the rejection, managed to fall back asleep.
With no ice cream left, and no desire to do anything but stomp around, I got into bed and glared at the ceiling. A few hours later on the cusp of sleep I was assaulted by an epiphany sent from Super Ego explaining I no longer wanted to write. That I was over this crap and so much better than such childish behavior. I went to sleep feeling strangely vindicated (against who I still don’t know, perhaps ID?). Then I woke up. As mentioned previously ID has been thoroughly screwing me over. Perhaps if I were a kinkier soul I would enjoy it. The demon otherwise known as my ‘creativity’ haunted me. I was undercover people, it was hard to ignore the girl with sneakers, crazy hair and wild eyes scratching words on the walls.
To quote Sigmund himself ‘Transference neuroses correspond to a conflict between the ego and the id; narcissistic neuroses, to a conflict between the ego and the superego; and psychoses, to one between the ego and the external world’. Translation: ID, the dark twisted side of my nature is kicked Super Ego’s ass. So after seven rejections I decided to self publish, because I wanted to see if my writing really was just bad, and if I should give up.
One month later, here I am trying hard not to become a neurotic mess, or screaming banshee about a bad review I had yesterday. I am striving to be professional, and mature about the whole thing. As I stormed around the living room, (de ja vu anyone?) my boyfriend calmly said, “But wasn’t feedback, good and bad, the whole point of you doing this?”
Yes, I threw my shoe at his face (He’s fine, btw, my aim is terrible. And yes, he loves me more than air, and that is the reason he puts up with me).
To date I have had exactly one bad review. By bad I mean the nameless person said all bad things, and no good things. I have received another review that was quite negative, but it was constructive, so I took it on the chin. This bad review actually had tears threatening to fall and reminded me of the Rejecter’s email, because I know it’s not true. And it’s been posted in a pretty damn importance place too, and the effect it’s having is pretty significant. The three emails I had with praise from other readers afterwards did help ease the pain somewhat though, but still. Look, I’ll share it;
“The writing is horrible. The language is stiff. It sounds as if you were reading the diary of someone with a scientific, rather than lyrical, mind.”
Mouth open wide; ahhhhhhh! *Deep Breath* That was the whole review. All of it. Three bad things, all around the writing style. You don’t like my style, that’s cool, but why do you view a different style as a bad thing… You.. You… You mean person you!
Where is my professional response thanking the reader but redeeming myself at the same time…Well I can’t post one. Because I don’t live in America, and Amazon won’t give me access to comment. *Wailing noise* So I have to site here and glare at my screen. It's an open sore I cannot soothe, and it's itchy!
Now, I have seen worse reviews than this. I have seen books I thought were fantastic torn to shreds by people who thought they were clever for being so witty, and cruel at the same time in a public forum. Do people forget that there is a human writer who then has to read these reviews? I mean, even when I write a negative review I make sure to write at least one positive to give the person a grain of hope.
I know being able to deal with such things without reacting like a bomb has gone off takes time, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Thank the heavens my current ratio review ratio is roughly twenty 40:1, positive to negative, or I may get upset and write a thinly concealed passive aggressive blog post…oh, yeah. I’ll stop the rant here.