Developing a thick skin…

When I decided to fill my downtime with writing historical fiction, little did I know my thinning skin would need extra conditioning. Would there be enough lotion or crepe-erase to help? Thick skin doesn’t come naturally. It has to be nurtured, then blistered, and finally callused to provide an indifferent attitude.

Critical opinions may soften the reptilian epidermis but never crack it. Each reader has a  favorite genre but sometimes stray to another. A genre so completely alien to what they’ve become accustomed. When they switch, they find the writing style different, the characters different, and the conflicts different. The reader is expecting the same type of storyline, characters, and ending. I find myself in this group of readers, at times, but each writer has a story to tell, so they should be allowed to write it in their own personal way.

Every writer has his/her own style, and I have mine. I write as I speak, and I want my novel to be an easy read. If a reader switches genres and happens to read my novel, they will hear my voice, not Jane Austen’s or Kristin Hannah’s. I don’t expect everyone to like my stories, and there are many books I’ve never finished due to length, too much unnecessary detail, or having to keep the dictionary close-by. In other words, ones I’d never recommend to anyone.

I recently read a colossal #1 bestseller and couldn’t understand why it jumped to that ranking. The writing was good, and the expertise of the scientific subject matter was outstanding, but the story was just okay, in my opinion. But this story is her story, written her way and the author deserves all the due respect she is enjoying. When a novel is backed by the ‘big boys’, and a huge budget is set for promotion, there is no room for criticism, it seems. I feel some readers want to boast about reading the bestsellers whether they’re good or not since they now consider themselves in the so-called loop of the literary elite. 

An indie author may work full time, and write only when possible. He/she may have the next ‘Gone With the Wind” or “Forrest Gump” saved in the laptop, but has no time to pitch it, network, or promote it. He/she may be a member of every writer’s group out there but never has time to attend workshops. He/she believes in the voice that comes out every time they write but still believes it’s not good enough.

I am an indie author, and I still have a lot to learn.  Every review, critique, and suggestion I receive is much appreciated. Your words tell me to “press on and improve your writing”. My novels aren’t patterned after any other author and each one will be better than the last.

~Judy

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