There’s no better way to end the year than with a little negative, but constructive feedback. Seems a little counterintuitive, huh? Not really. Today, I noticed a received another review for my book Reflection in the Music and there wasn’t a bit of praise in it. At first glance, I saw the two stars out of five and was immediately disappointed, but then I read the review and I was glad to have it. A reader wrote that the book was a bust for her because she wasn’t sure what it was supposed to be. It read like interconnected vignettes to her instead of an actual story. I hate that she didn’t care for it. I would have loved to have received a glowing review or at least a little bit of love, but not everyone will love what you do.
I said all that to bring attention to some of my reflections from 2017. I typed this on my phone before I had a chance to sit down at my computer and clean it up to publish. When I typed the word “reflections”, “rejection” popped up as a suggested word. I can write a mile-long lost of my accomplishments this year, but the feelings of rejection and disappointment that I experienced in both my personal and professional life this year sometimes inadvertently overshadow the successes. If I am to continue moving forward and publish more books and continue publishing on this book, those successes must overshadow the hurts.
Concerning my novella, I’ve received praise for it, most of it was word of mouth (it would be wonderful if everyone who has read and enjoyed my book would share their thoughts on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Facebook, etc.) I always welcome constructive feedback, even if it is negative, otherwise, I’ll never grow. I received a little criticism when I first released it, but a fleshed-out review didn’t come until well after a year after I published it and in that time, I’ve done some editing (shout-out to Grammarly! Wish I had known about this software before I clicked “publish”) The first bit of negative criticism I received on my book when I first published it did hurt a little, but I took those comments into consideration and I went back and changed a couple of things, which made the overall story better. Over the past several months I’ve done a little more editing to the book. I’ve also updated the book cover and cleaned up the interior design, so it could look a little more professional. A lot of mistakes I’ve noticed as I’ve gone back and scanned through pages to refresh my memory on what I wrote. What I was looking for from the feedback that I’ve been fighting to get came after I figured out most of those things for myself. I’m not changing the story anymore though.
In the back of my mind, the ultimate success would’ve been to have written a masterpiece the first time around. I knew that that was to the contrary, but that didn’t change what I’d hoped for. I can look back and reread short stories from two years ago and see how much I’ve grown as a writer. I realize that my style is different, so not everyone will understand or like it. Now that some time has passed I can finally verbalize that style because I could not before. I could only say that it was different and that I write stories that revolve around everyday situations, but I try to introduce a different perspective to the mundane.
I write short stories because I don’t like to feel like I’m talking too much, and I feel that word choice and quality can beat quantity any day. I write short stories and poetry because they make me feel good. That’s the battle I’ve been fighting as a creative. Am I an author or an artist? I write what makes me feel good and in ways that I feel that I can best express myself. Is the way that I express myself marketable or profitable? I haven’t always been sure. To be more commercially successful, I probably would have changed a great deal about the book, but then, I’d feel like I was losing what I put so much effort into creating to be a certain way. Who I am and how my work is received are separate things and I can only truly determine one of them, so what do I do?
Reflection in the Music doesn’t necessarily fit into any specific genre, but I tend to classify it as contemporary fiction. It isn’t romance or Urban or Christian or fantasy. It deals with real-life scenarios involving friendship and unresolved feelings, but also has a hint (just a hint) of spirituality and supernatural that wasn’t inserted for the purpose of trying to make anyone think differently, but only to reveal a little about the characters themselves. It isn’t meant to be a descriptive novel, but a brief look at the difference that a day can make since the majority of the story, with the exception of the prologue and epilogue, take place over the course of a couple of days.
The reader did give me an idea as far as updating the subtitle to say, “A composite novella” instead of “A novella” because then that may better describe what the book is for some readers. Perhaps I’ll update the book to include an introduction. The essential point, however, is that there’s so much that can be done with disappointments and/or the unexpected. It can either be fuel to stay driven or fuel to burn a person down. Unless you have the finances to spare (I didn’t, but I’ll invest in Grammarly Premium very soon) you don’t always have someone to tell you what’s wrong and when they do, they’re not always clear or the advice may come after you’ve already figured it out. So, that feedback—positive or negative–is used to become better overall.
It’s not easy to get non-positive comments about the things you’ve put your time, heart, and energy into, but that’s the chance you take when you step out and put your work on display for everyone to see. That’s why I try to list both likes and dislikes when I write reviews on other books, even when I didn’t like the book in its entirety. It takes a lot to push yourself and the fruits of your labor out into the public eye to be scrutinized. It takes a lot to do a lot of things in life, period. As I said earlier, not everyone will love what you do, and some will declare their love, but not always take the actions you hope that they will to show it. All I can do is try my best, love with sincerity, use whatever feedback I get as fuel and keep moving along.
Happy New Year to everyone reading this and thank you so much for your continued support!
© LeTara Moore, All Rights Reserved