The Highs and Lows of Writing

A writer knows there are highs and lows during the writing process. You question your abilities, your instincts and even your love for writing.

My low point came several years ago when my manuscript needed help. It was through wonderful friends I learned I needed to add more content. I was devastated but their input made my product better. I doubled its size. I had to learn to take my initial disappointment and my questioning of my abilities and turn it into a product I now am proud to tout. The process switched my low into a high.

However, taking criticisms is not easy. Find a partner in which you can work with and trust. I have a great writer friend who I value her input enormously. It takes time, however, to find the right working relationships.

A few years ago I lost a friend due to this. She wanted to critique at times which fit her schedule but would not bend on starting earlier so could have adequate time to go through our works in progress. She also was writing non-fiction, whereas I was venturing into the romance-fiction genre. We did not fit. What resulted was a broken friendship. To be honest, however, there were other things in play which contributed to this. So do not hesitate to walk away if you need to do that, but do it early and find a nice way to sever the critique relationship without hindering your friendship.

Go with your instincts. If your gut tells you to write a certain type of story then go for it. My heart directed me to write an inspiring-historical romance. I did that with Lockets and Lanterns. Its April release was my high point. Remember, though, your novel will not set the whole world on fire but could appeal to those interested in that kind of story.

This reminds me of a time I accepted a job. My “gut” told me to not take it and my “gut” was correct. This is the advantage of self-publishing you can do it your way. Publishers ask you to write it their way which may not be the path you want to take.

Finally, your high is your love of writing and your low is the process in getting there. One day you receive glowing reviews of your work. The next day you get a fair report. The latter can send you into depression because we always remember the bad ones and forget the good reports. Or, your book cannot get traction no matter what you do so your high hopes are dashed. The truth is nothing is easy and you need to keep working at it. Few people inherit their wealth. They did it through many years of hard work. You can be that person with perseverance and determination.

When my first book, Seasons of the Soul, was released in 2006. I expected it to sell like hot cakes. It did not. Instead, I got good reviews and it even won a contest, but what the gift book did not do was make money. That part was a low point. This changed, though, with my new release of Lockets and Lanterns and this even brought up sales of my previous book. It takes time to get to your highs. Well, I guess I said enough. Thus, I leave you with this as always – God bless.

7 thoughts on “The Highs and Lows of Writing

  1. Lauralynn Elliott October 2, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    Taking criticism is hard. But giving it is even harder for me. I’ve been very lucky with beta readers. So far all friendships remain intact.

    There are many highs and lows. But that’s like life, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. M T McGuire October 2, 2012 / 8:01 pm

    Thank you for writing this post. I definitely needed to read it today, the world of writing is quiet for me, inspiration went off on holiday and left no forwarding address. It happens and when it does, the only thing to do is to quit trying to write; instead I read books, watch films listen to music and generally feed the machine. So in the time I usually use to write, I’ve been trying to do more marketing of my books. My sales have completely bombed! So the bit about getting traction especially rang true. 😉

    Wise words.



  3. Pamela DuMond (@CupcakesNovel) October 2, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    Thanks for the post! I have one book series that is doing well. The book in a completely different category is getting rebooted. I think the latter is so much better than the former. But it’s not selling as well! Who knows what readers will like. Keep writing. Best,

  4. Ruth Ann Nordin October 3, 2012 / 12:53 am

    I feel like writing and publishing is one big roller coaster. It’s hard to put a lot of effort and time into a book to find that it doesn’t sell as well as you hoped. I’ve learned even if I get emails about a certain book, it doesn’t mean it’ll be a big seller. That was one of the hardest things to grasp. You’d think that getting emails would show you there’s enough demand (you assume that if a couple people email you about a work in progress, then it means a lot more are interested). That just isn’t true. I learned that lesson last month when my newest release didn’t sell at all like I thought it would based on emails. I’ve been struggling with the low ever since but focusing on writing new stories is helping.

    • M T McGuire October 3, 2012 / 9:38 pm

      You definitely have the right approach there. I think the only way you can look at it, as an author, is that so long as you like what you’re putting out and believe in it then if anyone else does, it’s gravy. Just goes to show that sometimes, those rewrites publishers make us do have a point… sometimes… 😉

      Hearing you on the not selling, though mine’s a trilogy (says she desperately latching onto a reason) so I won’t really know if it sells until I produce the third book, so many people wait until trilogies and sets are complete.

      Anyway, just to say stick with it because you’re not alone with the uppy downyness and on the plus side, there is no finite shelf life to an e or pod book. So if it’s out there, and your other books are selling, it could take off any time. 🙂



  5. Joleene Naylor October 4, 2012 / 4:27 am

    LOL! the worst part of criticism is having to say “thank you!” immediately afterwards. Sure, in a couple of months after you’ve taken their suggestions and can see it’s better you are so, so grateful, but the immediate first gut reaction is never “thanks for tearing this apart” – even if that’s what you know it needs, lol!

  6. williamkendall1 October 8, 2012 / 8:42 pm

    Excellent post, Janet. There are times we really need to hear something like this. I’ve had days where I’m definitely at a low.

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