Disclaimer: This is full of complaints. Move along if you don’t like whining.
Being an artist is really hard sometimes. Well, maybe I should say most of the time. Yesterday, I was told the first few pages of my new book are garbage. I felt like the beginning kicked butt, especially since I used to suck at beginnings, but I guess not. And now, I feel like garbage.
Last night was hard. I don’t have friends, and my family (except my mom and fiancé) doesn’t support my books. So I had/have no one to talk to. Granted, even when I had a friend, there was no support there either. There’s no point in talking to my two lone supporters because they’ll just say empty crap like “Keep your head up” and “I support you”. Like, I do appreciate their support but it doesn’t help to hear those things.
Anyway, so even though the person who said that said they weren’t trying to be rude and they want all writers to succeed, it still felt like a punch to the gut. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry. I’m tired of putting on a persona that everything is okay.
So, everything is not okay.
I stayed up until 3am because I couldn’t fall asleep. Today I have no motivation to do anything. I certainly don’t have the motivation to write anymore. After months of no writing, I finally wrote a few hundred words yesterday. Then I was told that, and that little bit of motivation just went out the window.
I think those words hurt so much because of how hard I’ve been trying, for how long I’ve been trying, with almost no results. I did get my first ever review this year, and not only that, but my first three. And I’m eternally grateful to those three people. But my sales dashboard still has an average of zero sales and pages read every single month.
I’m getting into doing advertising more, and I did a five day stretch. I got 115 clicks, but only 2 sales. One was an actual order, the other was a download via KU. I watched as the pages read count climbed. And I was happy when I saw it creep closer to 200, because I was thinking, this person must enjoy the book if they’ve gotten that far. Then it stopped at 194. A bit less than only a hundred pages left.
Stuff like that, coupled with of course the shitty comment, makes me wonder why I even try. I dumped $800+ on Desolation’s cover. I thought the book itself was great because I thought my writing keeps getting better. And now…?
The person claimed the second paragraph of the first page was rife with errors. Especially the first sentence. “Heaving myself up to the next branch, I rested for a bit.” And a similar sentence a bit later: “Grabbing my cane, I turned to leave into the hallway.”
Apparently this is “common in amateur writers” and it is poor sentence structure because they can’t happen at the same time. Sure, they can’t. But I genuinely don’t understand how it implies they’re happening at the same time. That’s what the comma is for. To show a pause. Like “Heaving myself up to the next branch” [done] “I rested for a bit”. Or “Grabbing my cane” [now he has it in his hand] “I turned to leave into the hallway.” I also remember purposefully writing it like that to change up my sentence structure so I wasn’t constantly starting each sentence with “I”.
The person also said I had a lot of noun/verb issues. I know the difference between them. But I’ve read the first few pages over so many times in the past twelve hours, and I just feel completely stupid for not seeing any issues.
Lastly, the person mentioned too many non-said dialogue tags. This one really bugged me. In my opinion, the use of just “said” or different tags is most of the time, an artistic choice. I don’t solely use other tags, but a lot of the time, I opt for other things to show what the character is doing or feeling.
– I lied
– she snapped
– I pointed out
– I surrendered with a sigh
Maybe I’m just a “stupid amateur writer”, but I don’t see how non-said dialogue tags are bad. Every time I’ve used them, it’s to show what the character is doing or feeling. Constant “said” instead would leave a lot of things unsaid, ironically. There’s only so much emotion that can be described in the dialogue itself, which is why I use non-said tags. This is why texting, for example, is notoriously bad sometimes. There are no tags at all, and therefore many people misread the tone of the words.
Anyway, so I’m feeling like a ripe POS right now. I don’t know whether I should continue writing. I’ve sunk so much time and effort and money into it, for nothing. Stuff like seeing people I know, who get dozens of post reactions per post, share my book stuff, and then them getting zero reactions, it wears down on me. Seeing an empty dashboard, it wears down on me. Seeing my ads do nothing wears down on me.
Seeing my efforts of a social media presence wears down on me too. Twitter for example is a big one. It seemed so supportive and I thought I finally found my “tribe”. Then when I stopped following literally every writer who followed me (a common behaviour in the writing community there) because there is no point in following 20k+ people (or even just hundreds) when you literally can’t keep up with that many, now my posts get an average of one like because I’m not playing their game.
So anyway. I’ll most likely be going back into a hiatus because putting myself out there does either nothing or stresses me out.
I’m just tired of trying. After eight years, I’m tired.