Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hiding Between the Covers


I've taken an unplanned hiatus from writing the past few months, choosing instead to read like a fiend. And no, I'm not experiencing what some would deem as "writer's block." I feel the story growing in me; it won't be long before it demands to be written. I'm not worried about the creative end of things. 

At least, I wasn't, until I realized that that I've been reading instead of writing as a defensive mechanism to protect that creative voice that is demanding to be heard. 

Sometimes I hate epiphanies. 

It happened when I came across an article from Alice Bradley's Write Anyway column, a place I frequently stalk when I need a healthy dose of in-your-face courage. The article gives advice to our much beloved Bloggess about not reading reviews. 

"Once you’ve published something, you’re done. You can’t defend it. You can’t make someone like you. There is nothing you can do once a reader has reached his or her own conclusions. All you will feel from those reviews is awful. You may even feel bad about the five-star reviews, if you think they’re misinterpreting you. All it takes is one review that reads “I hate the Irish, too! Thumbs up, Jenny!” and you’re re-reading your entire book and wondering where you went wrong.
In conclusion: reader reviews are poison for the author. Once you’re done, you’re done. Don’t look back. Move on to your next project."
 If you've ever wondered why your favorite author seems distant or not easily accessible, this is the reason. It's not some marketing ploy to make them "mysterious". It's not that they don't want to know you, or that they don't value your opinions. Quite the contrary. They adore you. They appreciate you more than they do many of their relations. It's that they are too open to you. They have shown a part of themselves to you through the pages of a book. It's an extremely intimate and personal experience that only writers understand.