Keep your writing career expectations in check

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to the final Episode 5 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways.

In episode one of this season, an author I surveyed about what success and failure is, said it depended on the person’s expectation around writing, and highlighted the fact that even if people are happy with their work, society or those in our social bubbles can bring our writer confidence down by forcing on us their often unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about what a writer should be. So in the final episode of this season, I want to deconstruct some of these interactions and hopefully inspire you to take pride in your writing and to have the confidence to stand up for yourself when you feel wronged in any way.

Define what success means to you and stick to your beliefs

As we discussed before, the meaning of success is different for everyone. Yet there are many misconceptions about being a writer that are weaved into the fabric of our society and can make you feel inadequate if you don’t meet them.

Most of those are unrealistic or even undesirable by most writers, yet people who are not writers continue to peddle these ideas like they are the be-all and end-all for anyone who puts pen to paper more than they do.

A few examples are, “I don’t see your name in the bookstore, you must not be very popular’, or ‘you have no agent so your writing must be pretty bad’, or ‘I don’t see you rolling around in money, you must be struggling to find copywriting clients’. I’ve personally heard some of those, and more, mainly from well-meaning friends and family, wanting to set me on a right path to success.

My favorite one of all is when I tell people I’m a writer, and they ask me what I do for a real job. It used to annoy me, because while my office job is in fact real, my writing doesn’t feel any more ethereal to me. In both instances, I spend time and effort on something.

But this is the way our society is, it places big value on monetary gain and while I believe writers do and must make money from their words, for many money is a by-product of their passion, and not the inherent reason why they’re writing. To put it simply, there’s much easier jobs to pursue than writing.

So as you’re faced with a person who diminishes your passion or your efforts, decide whether it’s worth telling them the details of what you do and why they’ve misunderstood what is important about being a writer to you. And if you think it’s a lost cause and there’s no need to explain, agree to disagree and don’t dwell on their jabs at your lifestyle.

Trust both yourself and trust the industry

This, however, doesn’t mean you should dismiss every single criticism you receive about your writing life. No matter what stage of your writing career you’re at, there will be like-minded people around you with something to say. Their opinions will sometimes be in contrast with yours, and sometimes they might force you into an internal conflict between your head and your heart.

 For example, if you write a novel and submit it to an editor, who then comes back and says the novel has major issues and you have to go back to the drawing board. No one likes to hear that and it can be easy to dismiss. But think about where a person with vast experience is coming from.

As opposed to the people from my first point, they do not only know what writing is like, they probably know more than you. So in cases like that, you have to really listen. You need to strike the difficult balance between trusting yourself and trusting industry professionals of any kind to know what could be better for your career.

Each decision like that will be different but what I urge you to do here is to always take the time to think about your next step. Never blindly trust someone to choose a path for you but similarly don’t shut everyone out and miss an opportunity to grow because you’re too rigid in your beliefs. Well-meaning people will try to steer you in a direction they feel is best for you. It’s up to you to take stock of your personal situation and see if this is where your writing career can flourish.

HOST ANNOUNCEMENT

The book to which you owe listening to this podcast. The Lavender Phantom, my upcoming romance thriller, is now available for presale at a special price for all the early birds. It’s 25% off and if you preorder now, you can join me in my preorder giveaway and win some gift cards, books and tea.

All details can be found on my website www.laineydelaroque.com/books. The creation of that book has informed a lot of the content I’ve discussed in this podcast, so I’m excited to share it with you all. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve learned a lot along the way about writing, mental health and productivity.

Embrace your journey and don’t get swayed by others

Now that we’ve talked about how you should decide on what success looks like for your writing life, next it’s time to embrace your personal journey. This means coming to terms with the fact that things will happen the way things will happen. You can steer them in a direction you would like them to go but you will never be able to replicate another writer’s journey. Even if you follow their steps fully, the conditions you will be doing it in will be different, and most important of all, you are not them. You have your own unique strengths and limitations and that will shape how your career progresses.

From right now, decide what you’re seeking and how much you want to put yourself out there. Any writing shared in any shape or form, can lead to negative feedback. So if you feel ready to tackle that, brace yourself and learn from any teachable opportunity. If not, that’s fine too, write for yourself and people close to you.

There is no rush to reach milestones, despite what non-writers might say. You don’t need to be a bestseller, a published author, or indeed known to anyone for writing to bring you joy and for you to take pride in your work. All creative journeys are different and there’s no hurry to be first. Considering writing and storytelling are pretty much as old as time, no one can be first anymore. We’re all on the road of creativity and I think there is something really inspiring and humbling in that.

Reflect often and with an open mind

And while we’re talking humbling things, there’s nothing more humbling than returning often to the roots of why you do what you do. It’s important to not let others put value on your work, your time and your practice as a whole. This is a task for you only and I suggest you set yourself a timeframe for when you’re going to look back and see if there’s anything that’s changed in your beliefs, if you’ve strayed from your creative morals and if there’s any room for conscious improvement.

I try to do it every 6 months, and if I miss it because I’ve been bad, I do it at least once per year. Reflection is a beneficial tool in anyone’s self-improvement toolbox. People tend to think a lot about what they did wrong when they reflect but that’s not all there’s to it.

A study in reflection and change argued that “reflection is […] not entirely a tool for uncovering and rectifying deficiencies in performance or practice, but a process of discovery of strengths and successes, and an opportunity to both celebrate those, and to confirm and plan for continuation in that same path.”

So when you next reflect, don’t forget to acknowledge what you did great and to think about how you can ensure continued success, whatever that means to you. 

sO, TO SUMMARIZE…

And on that very positive note, I end the fourth season of the Pen Garden. I hope you feel more confident about what you’re doing with your writing. The gist is this: “If it makes you happy and you’re not hurting anyone, you’re doing great and you’re a successful writer.” So keep writing, keep learning and keep growing. I believe in you.

On the topic of flourishing writers, last week I briefly talked about changes coming to The Pen Garden. I introduced a new offering which gave writers the opportunity to apply for free beta reading. It is still open for applications. So if you are about to finish a draft and you’re looking for a beta reader, go check it out for details and accessthe application form. Applications close on the 15th of January.

Now that The Pen Garden has grown too and has expanded to offer beta reading, it means that the schedule changes I hinted at last year are indeed happening. In brief, a season of the podcast will alternate with a round of beta reading. So season five will come out in early April. The reason why I think this is a good idea is because I feel like I’ve imparted all of the writing wisdom I have collected so far. I don’t want this to be a space where I ramble aimlessly, I want to give people content informed both by science and my own journey to inspire them to look into theirs and create a more mindful, productive writing practice. So while I collect more experience and interesting research on creativity, I will be helping authors grow by beta reading their words. I hope you support my choice and remain with me throughout this adventure.

If you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, you’re missing out. I’ve now sent my first few ones and I’m really enjoying the process. Newsletters come once in the beginning of a season and once at the end so your inbox won’t fill up. They all feature a cute animal and a book recommendation which can improve either your mental health or your productivity as a writer. Feedback about the newsletters has been really positive so far, so after you finish this episode, go sign up. And if you think they can be improved, email me and I promise that I will do my best.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque. Thanks very much for listening everyone. Hope you have an awesome week and speak to you soon.

Sources

 

 

Listen to all Available episodes of season 4:

Keep your writing career expectations in check– Success & Failure Episode 5

    Keep your writing career expectations in check What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final Episode 5 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In episode one of this season, an author I surveyed about […]

Set realistic writing goals– Success & Failure Episode 4

    Set realistic writing goals for 2021 What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 4 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a bang and talk about setting achievable […]

Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey– Success & Failure Episode 3

    Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 3 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. We’re midway through season four, so it’s the best place to tackle […]

Success and your writing routine – Success & Failure Episode 2

    Success and your writing routine What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 2 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In this episode, I will look into why achieving your writer career dreams can be […]

Writers’ perception on creative success & failure – Success & Failure Episode 1

    Writers’ perception on creative success & failure What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Today I will try to define what writerly success and failure is, and how they impact […]

Season 4 – Success & Failure – Overview

    SEASON 4 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!   What’s this Season about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Success & Failure. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with […]

 

Or the episodes from seasonS 1,2&3:

 

 

 

Set realistic writing goals for 2021

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to Episode 4 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways.

Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a bang and talk about setting achievable writing goals. Some of you may call them writing resolutions and may well be setting some pretty ambitious ones as we speak. But hold off for the next ten-fifteen minutes and listen to the following tips, tricks and ideas. This episode will help you evaluate your practice and set up your yearly writing objectives with your personal situation in mind, and hopefully prevent you from burning out or feeling like you’ve failed in the coming year.

Begin with a vision

Many people set unrealistic goals because they pull them out of the hat of their wishful thinking. It would be great if I could publish a novel every month in 2021 but it only takes a second to remember I work two jobs, have this podcast and love to engage in the occasional Netflix show or computer game. Sometimes I even spend time with friends, global pandemic allowing. So this mix of activities doesn’t lend itself to a realistic novel-a-month timeline. But let’s say I did have the time for it, why do I want to produce so much? Am I chasing money? Am I trying to work hard this year so next year is easier? Will this churning out of novels make me happy? Basically, if I don’t know what my vision for my writing practice is for this year, goals are pretty much meaningless. So, to set a realistic objective, one needs to start at the beginning.

What writer do you aspire to be? Where would you like to see yourself as a writer in five or ten years? Boil down the answers to those questions in one sentence and you have your vision. It should encapsulate your writing dream and excite you for the future. If it doesn’t, think some more and tweak it.

Some examples are: “to earn a living by being a full-time copywriter, well-established in the business and consulting industries” or “to supplement my existing income by publishing a fantasy trilogy” or even “to consistently find magazines and anthologies to publish my poetry and bring joy to others through my witty sentences”.

Whatever it is, it needs to reflect your aspirations. And after you have your vision, you can more confidently set your goals and targets for 2021. Keep your vision sentence close by throughout the year and read it often. If you find your dream has changed, don’t be afraid to alter it and revisit your writing goals.

New Year’s writing resolutions – at your own risk

I’ve been really careful not to use resolutions and goals as the same thing, because they aren’t. A resolution is a “firm decision to do or not to do something” while a goal is an “object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. I don’t do resolutions because I believe they often come from a place of self-judgment, of negativity.

If we move away from writing for a bit, lots of people want to get fitter in the New Year, to drop eating sugar, to stop smoking, etc, etc. And by themselves these are not harmful aspirations. But they come with the expectations that from January 1st, one will change suddenly, find their lost motivation, and let their old self which they dislike stay in the past year. But this kind of thinking does a disservice to everyone who struggles with addiction, body image issues, mental health and many other problems which require ongoing effort to keep at bay. And for many people, it’s simply a promise to themselves which they will not keep, betraying their trust in their own motivation and abilities.

So there’s no need to make a resolution. Set achievable goals and objectives instead. I want to leave you with something you can start using straight away, so here is a tool which is used a lot in business but writers and anyone doing personal development can benefit from it too. It’s called SMART. SMART is an acronym which helps you be realistic in your planning.

So when setting this year’s writing goals, try to make them SMART – Specific (or simple), Measurable (or meaningful), Achievable, Relevant (or reasonable) and Timely (or time bound). Here is how to use the SMART tool as a whole. Making sure your goals meet all SMART criteria means you will be properly evaluating all aspects of your writing and personal life which could affect your writing practice. As a starting point, don’t forget to think about how your health, your social bubbles and your knowledge of previous barriers like procrastination, may impact on any of your writing aspirations for the year.

HOST ANNOUNCEMENT

The book to which you owe listening to this podcast. The Lavender Phantom, my upcoming romance thriller, is now available for presale at a special price for all the early birds. It’s 25% off and if you preorder now, you can join me in my preorder giveaway and win some gift cards, books and tea.

All details can be found on my website www.laineydelaroque.com/books. The creation of that book has informed a lot of the content I’ve discussed in this podcast, so I’m excited to share it with you all. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve learned a lot along the way about writing, mental health and productivity.

Cultivate a ‘growth mindset’

A year is a long time. Lots can happen in these 52 weeks and even if you set the best, most personalized objectives, things will throw you off balance. I know most of us have learned this hard lesson already, 2020 after all had curve-ball after curve-ball for everyone. The only way to be prepared about these inevitable difficulties is to train ourselves to grow from every experience, positive or negative.

In the book ‘Mindset – The Psychology of Success’, Dr Carol Dweck discusses the power of one’s mindset when reaching for success and achievement. She makes a clear distinction of two ways we can approach thinking about our skills and results – with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. “Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. […] It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.” In contrast, the “growth mindset” is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.” This idea fosters a passion for learning and a more resilient mind, allowing you to spring back up from things that others can view as failures.

If you want to explore the science and strategies behind the growth mindset further, make sure you take a look at Dr Dweck’s book. There is also some further reading which I found really thought-provoking: it lists the 10 habits resilient people have and how to adopt them in our own lives.

Try the life of a stoic

And while on the topic of introducing habits, we need to look no further than the philosophy of Stoicism to see the benefits of living a life of purposeful routine. Epictetus said that “Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.” It leaves a lot less to chance – meaning less unpleasant surprises and less chances to feel like you’ve failed in your practice, provided you’ve set SMART goals for yourself.

The Stoic life centred around habits and routines — practices in which they engaged daily, from their waking moments until going to sleep, that provided the structure necessary for a day lived well.” These practices can be incorporated in your writing life and add structure, purpose and a feeling of well-earned achievement.

The Stoics’ idea was to live life to the fullest, and there is much we can learn from them, particularly in our anxious, stressed, constantly turned-on society. I recommend you read the article which inspired this point – How to Structure Your Day Like a Stoic – and maybe give some of their ideas a try. They promote self-reflection and growth, as well as useful practices which will enrich your writing life and open the door to more creative inspiration.

sO, TO SUMMARIZE…

Beginning a new year leaves a lot of us buzzing with excitement and eagerness to write more, write better, be altogether better creative people. But before you make any grand promises for the state of your creative practice, take a step back, evaluate, look at how you did last year. Set realistic goals for your personal situation and try to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ to build resilience. Use psychology to harness your renewed energy and maybe try out a new routine or revamp your old one with new elements.

And I’m no different, I will be doing exactly the same thing. My first book is coming out in February so I’m trying not to get swept up in unrealistic dreaming and goal-setting. I’ve also looked at how the Pen Garden can be improved, expanded, so the hinted changes to the format from last episode are indeed happening. The Pen Garden is growing, and I’m happy to announce that there is new beta reading service offer. It is free and open for applications. So if you are about to finish a draft and you’re looking for a beta reader, go check it out for details and access the application form. Applications close on the 15th of January.

Next week, for the final episode of the Success & Failure season, I will look into how to manage unreasonable outside and personal expectations when it comes to your writing practice. Being a member of our society and a writer means that people have reactions to us writers that are not always helpful. So I will discuss that and leave you with some practical advice on how to handle such remarks while still being happy and proud you’re a writer true to your aspirations and situation.

If you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, you’re missing out. I’ve now sent my first few ones and I’m really enjoying the process. Newsletters come once in the beginning of a season and once at the end so your inbox won’t fill up. They all feature a cute animal and a book recommendation which can improve either your mental health or your productivity as a writer. Feedback about the newsletters has been really positive so far, so after you finish this episode, go sign up. And if you think they can be improved, email me and I promise that I will do my best.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque. Thanks very much for listening everyone. Hope you have an awesome week and speak to you soon.

Sources

 

 

 

Listen to all Available episodes of season 4:

Keep your writing career expectations in check– Success & Failure Episode 5

    Keep your writing career expectations in check What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final Episode 5 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In episode one of this season, an author I surveyed about […]

Set realistic writing goals– Success & Failure Episode 4

    Set realistic writing goals for 2021 What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 4 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a bang and talk about setting achievable […]

Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey– Success & Failure Episode 3

    Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 3 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. We’re midway through season four, so it’s the best place to tackle […]

Success and your writing routine – Success & Failure Episode 2

    Success and your writing routine What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 2 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In this episode, I will look into why achieving your writer career dreams can be […]

Writers’ perception on creative success & failure – Success & Failure Episode 1

    Writers’ perception on creative success & failure What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Today I will try to define what writerly success and failure is, and how they impact […]

Season 4 – Success & Failure – Overview

    SEASON 4 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!   What’s this Season about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Success & Failure. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with […]

 

Or the episodes from seasonS 1,2&3:

 

 

 

Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to Episode 3 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways.

We’re midway through season four, so it’s the best place to tackle a sensitive topic – receiving criticism. In this episode, I will discuss why criticism is important, and how to spot when a negative review might be useless to you. Then, on the mental health side of things, I will look into how to process feedback while still maintaining your feeling of self-worth.

Feedback is good for you

Most writers have heard or know that feedback is important. Some beginners however are only happy when they receive compliments as feedback and either get discouraged when they get critiqued, or offended. So I wanted to very briefly summarize why getting any sort of feedback, positive, negative and everything in between, is a useful tool in your writer’s journey.

An article by Haley Grant identifies three main benefits to receiving feedback on your written work. Feedback is crucial because it improves learning, enhances relationships and promotes growth. Receiving comments in relation to your writing helps you see your work from a different perspective. Writers are often too close to their words and it’s wise to listen to critique – this way the piece will be streamlined and much improved. Relationships between writers and those who read their writing, be it clients, customers or fellow writers, are really important. When a writer listens to reader feedback, readers feel seen and listened to. They feel a part of the creative journey and are thus more engaged. And finally, feedback is essential because it keeps a writer from going stagnant. It helps creative people who are willing to listen to focus their energy on self-improvement, analysis and self-reflection. Nurturing these skills is not only important for your writing journey but also for your growth as an individual in world which increasingly places value on authenticity.

Not all criticism is constructive

Now that we’ve established that feedback of all kinds helps you grow, let’s talk about the fact that not all criticism of you and your writing is constructive. Sometimes people are mean for no reason related to you and there’s nothing you can do to improve following their comments.

To illustrate my point, I will give you a bit of homework. Go to a book’s Amazon or Goodreads page, any book, and look at a few five-star reviews. Then filter all reviews and look at the one-star ones. Notice how many of the points made there relate to the reader and not the writer.

One of the books I was amazed by recently, and which made it into my sparse list of five-star reads, was The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. I love it because it was a beautifully written fantasy book which was thought-provoking as much as it was entertaining. But here is a one-star review of it:

‘This book weighs 1119 grams…I have a 1 kilo limit so my books don’t knock me out if I fall asleep reading them 🙂 Also it takes itself so fekkin seriously and lately I’m into writers who make me laugh along the way.’

This is the worst review a writer can get – it doesn’t say anything about the writing, or the plot, and only speaks about the reader. It also fails to inform other readers about why this book would or wouldn’t be for them. The size of the book and its tone are obvious from the listings and the blurb, and delivered in much less aggravating way.

So I ask you, for the sake of your mental health and your writer journey, evaluate criticism first before you take it to heart. Think whether you have found the correct audience – maybe it’s not your writing but the way you market and advertise your work. Maybe the time for it is a bit wrong. Whatever it is, try to understand the underlying reason for negative feedback received, and if you can’t find out, it’s more than likely that it’s an issue with the reviewer and not you. Let it go and move on to other constructive comments.

HOST ANNOUNCEMENT

The book to which you owe listening to this podcast. The Lavender Phantom, my upcoming romance thriller, is now available for presale at a special price for all the early birds. It’s 25% off and if you preorder now, you can join me in my preorder giveaway and win some gift cards, books and tea.

All details can be found on my website www.laineydelaroque.com/books. The creation of that book has informed a lot of the content I’ve discussed in this podcast, so I’m excited to share it with you all. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve learned a lot along the way about writing, mental health and productivity.

Unattach your self-worth from your achievements (or lack thereof)

Many people, not only writers, believe that consistent achievement in life makes them a worthy member of society. If they’re contributing to the greater good somehow, they know their existence is not meaningless. They think if they pursue socially defined life goals like marriage, having children, earning big money, receiving peer acclaim, they would be happy, fulfilled, and most importantly, worthy.

But what does it mean to be a worthy human, or a worthy creator? Does having a mental health illness which prevents you from consistently writing make you less of a writer? Or is an obscure poet who loves their craft less worthy than a best-selling author who doesn’t enjoy writing too much anymore? Is there an issue in any of those scenarios when it comes to worthiness?

I, and many more around the globe, argue that people are intrinsically worthy of their life and aspirations. If you’ve ever compared yourself to other people and felt lacking and less worthy of success than them, maybe it’s time to unattach your self-worth from your achievements, or lack thereof. 

In a Ted Talk about Cultivating Unconditional Self-Worth, Dr. Adia Gooden makes a clear distinction between self-esteem and self-worth: “Our self-esteem is derived from our abilities, accomplishments, social positions and things we believe and we can achieve. We can bolster our self-esteem by improving our skills or performance, and our self-esteem goes up and down depending on how we’re doing in various aspects of our lives.

“In contrast, unconditional self-worth is distinct from our abilities and accomplishments. It’s not about comparing ourselves to others; it’s not something that we can have more or less of. Unconditional self-worth is the sense that you deserve to be alive, to be loved and cared for. To take up space.”

Cultivate unconditional self-worth

So, to bring this back to writing, how do we cultivate unconditional self-worth when it comes to our creative selves? How do we reconcile the difficult emotions which come with receiving rejection, negative feedback, sometimes downright hate for the work we’ve poured our hearts and souls into? Dr. Gooden suggests four ways, which might not always be easy but can be very beneficial if adopted with patience and care.

  1. Forgive yourself

“Many of us struggle to feel worthy, because we are angry with ourselves about past mistakes.[…] To forgive yourself, reflect on the circumstances that led to past mistakes, acknowledge the pain you experienced and identify what you learned from the situation. Then say to yourself “I forgive you” — in an honest and kind way.”

Writers can regret their reactions to negative feedback or blame themselves for a book’s bad sales record. Let go of the baggage that blame carries, and try harder the next time you’re in a similar situation.

  1. Practice self-acceptance

“Many of us struggle with low self-worth because we think there’s something wrong with us and we refuse to accept ourselves the way we are. We receive so many messages that we are not OK the way we are. […] See if you can let go of the thoughts you have about how the way you think, feel or look should be different. Instead, focus on the things you like about yourself. Over time, begin to embrace your quirks.”

These quirks are probably what will set you apart from other writers, they are going to be the small things that readers love about your characters and plots. You’re a writer because you have something to say, a story to tell which only you can tell. So embrace that and celebrate it.

  1. Be there for yourself

“When life gets rough, many of us engage in harsh self-criticism — which only leaves us feeling worse. What we need most when we are going through a difficult time is for someone to say ‘I see you. I see how badly you’re hurting. I’m here.’ We can do this for ourselves. The next time you experience emotional pain, acknowledge how you were feeling and offer yourself some comfort.”

So don’t bash yourself for the next bad review you receive. Don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s only natural for you to get it, that you’re not a good writer after all. Recognize that you’re hurt— there’s nothing wrong with that— and tend to yourself before you address the feedback. Come to it from a place of inner strength and understanding.

  1. Connect with supportive people

“Low self-worth can leave us feeling isolated and alone. When we think there’s something wrong with us, we tend to pull away from our relationships, and this isolation only exacerbates our feelings of unworthiness. Connecting to people who are supportive helps us to get in touch with our humanity and our sense of worth.”

So reach out to your writer friends, your communities of writers who undoubtedly also get bad reviews and bad days. Share your pain and allow yourself to believe that what they tell you is true. Let them uplift you as you would uplift them in their time of need. Other writers are not only there for you when you need inspiration as I said in season 3, they’re also there to support you when being a writer is not as nice as it sounds.

sO, TO SUMMARIZE…

Feedback is important. Writers learn from it, improve their writing craft and use it to build long-lasting relationships with fellow authors and readers. Not all feedback is constructive, so it’s best to let some negative comments go and not let them affect your feeling of self-worth. Your writing achievements do not determine whether you’re a worthy writer, you are by default because you enjoy your creative journey and have a story to tell. Cultivating unconditional self-worth can help you maintain good mental health which is invaluable for any writer’s creative practice.

Next week The Pen Garden will have an unexpected break because I won’t have access to my recording equipment and didn’t have the organizational prowess to pre-record an episode. But I’m sure you’ll all be fine during the holiday season – resting, writing and reflecting on this difficult year. So the next episode will come on 5th January. Its topic will be very timely – focusing on how to set achievable, personalized writing goals. It is the best episode to listen to before you decide on your New Year’s writing resolutions.

If you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, you’re missing out. I’ve now sent my first few ones and I’m really enjoying the process. Newsletters come once in the beginning of a season and once at the end so your inbox won’t fill up. They all feature a cute animal and a book recommendation which can improve either your mental health or your productivity as a writer. Feedback about the newsletters has been really positive so far, so after you finish this episode, go sign up. And if you think they can be improved, email me and I promise that I will do my best.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque. Thanks very much for listening everyone. Hope you have an awesome week and speak to you soon.

Sources

 

 

Listen to all Available episodes of season 4:

Keep your writing career expectations in check– Success & Failure Episode 5

    Keep your writing career expectations in check What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final Episode 5 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In episode one of this season, an author I surveyed about […]

Set realistic writing goals– Success & Failure Episode 4

    Set realistic writing goals for 2021 What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 4 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a bang and talk about setting achievable […]

Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey– Success & Failure Episode 3

    Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 3 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. We’re midway through season four, so it’s the best place to tackle […]

Success and your writing routine – Success & Failure Episode 2

    Success and your writing routine What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 2 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In this episode, I will look into why achieving your writer career dreams can be […]

Writers’ perception on creative success & failure – Success & Failure Episode 1

    Writers’ perception on creative success & failure What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Today I will try to define what writerly success and failure is, and how they impact […]

Season 4 – Success & Failure – Overview

    SEASON 4 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!   What’s this Season about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Success & Failure. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with […]

 

Or the episodes from seasonS 1,2&3: