Let authors doubt themselves

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If you're a writer, you've at least at one point doubted your craft, or have even considered giving up. It's something every writer goes through. If you're anything like me, an overthinking perfectionist with way too much free time, it's a regular occurrence :)

But maybe in your negative feelings of doubt, you look to your readers to boost you back up. Or maybe you're a reader who sees an author questioning themselves and you decide to help by telling them they're just overthinking.

For both writers and readers who do this and in the wise words of MJ,

For both writers and readers who do this and in the wise words of MJ,

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Why you ask?

Then my question for you is, would you seek medical advice from someone who just watches Grey's Anatomy? Probably not right? Why? Cause they may watch a show about medicine, but in actuality, they have zero idea about it?

...yeah, exactly.

The same goes for books. Telling a writer who's uneducated your equally, usually more, uneducated opinion doesn't fucking help them like you think it does.

Why do you think very obviously shitty authors get pissy when told by someone their book sucks? Cause uneducated fellow writers and readers have told them not to worry, that their book is good, they don't need improvement. It's like in stories when the overtly snobby girl gets told she's average. She's been called stunning her whole life by her parents and friends and doesn't know how to take being told she's actually just an average-looking girl.

(I'd like to add, readers who tolerate shitty stories are the enablers. Stop brushing off poor grammar, shitty dialogue, etc. I've seen so many readers go "The grammar's kinda bad but you should still give it a read" No, stop. Stop tolerating poor writing. If you see something a story could do better on, speak the fuck up to the author about it. I'm not supporting an author who's too lazy to fix simple things even if I want to read the book.)

Writers should doubt themselves because doubting if your work is good means you have an open mind to improvement/growth. And obviously having an open mind and improving will lead you to greater skills. So by telling someone that their doubt is nothing and brushing it off, you're only planting in their head that their story is fine the way it is and that they're a great writer who doesn't need improvement which isn't exactly true.

And that, is the demise of literally hundreds of books and authors. I see it all the time and it annoys me, here's a chance for an author to grow, and then someone random comes and smacks it away when they have no clue what they're talking about.

Even if you're a great writer, there will always be room to improve your book. I get told I'm a great writer all the time and have been told that by different people for the past few years with my novel. Their compliments make me feel good but I still know there are things to improve on, readers just don't see them cause they're not looking at it through a critical lens. Just because I get told I'm good doesn't mean I don't need to get critical feedback from someone more educated.

In other words, compliments are not valid feedback so stop taking them as such, and stop letting them go to your head. Humble yourself a bit you cocky cunt. 

Almost every time I doubt my writing and start getting self-critical, even if it's frustrating, in the end, I always end up with a better more refined draft in one way or another. And when I'm still not sure about something, I ask people who I know are capable of telling me bluntly how it reads.

Of course, you're likely going to disagree at first. Nobody likes being told this thing they've worked hard on actually isn't that great and needs changes. It stings and can be discouraging at first. But if you're writing a book for an audience of readers and if you care about the quality, fuck your butthurt feelings. It's crucial you take those dreadful steps towards change. Your readers may not realize it, but they'll enjoy the revised version of your book much more than they already enjoy it.

Whenever I see someone being self-critical, I usually tell them to just get a review from somebody who actually knows a thing or two. I'm not going to coddle them and kiss their ass with "umm what? ur writing is so good!! Don't listen to them!! Plug your ears king/queen, cause you need no improvement!! They're just haters!! If they don't like it they shouldn't read it!!"

bUt reViEwERs aRe sO mEan!1!1! Y'know this issue of brushing off writers' concerns with vague compliments is so bad, I seriously doubt it when someone tells me a reviewer was mean without proof of what exactly that reviewer said.

So many people take legitimate, honest, criticism as hate, even when they themselves ask for it because they misunderstand what criticism is/what it should be. I myself have had people flip out on me for feedback they asked for. Like I've said, compliments are not true feedback on your skill. If you think a review shop by a random person on wattpad is harsh, baby you'd get slaughtered in the real writing industry.

There's a big difference between being rude and just being honest. Someone telling you what needs work in your book and saying your characters feel flat or that some scenes need more detail, etc, is not mean. You're just being a sensitive little shit with an ego too big for your own benefit.

Are there mean reviewers? Of course, but you can always tell how rude someone is by idk... looking at the previous reviews they've done and seeing how they word their feedback? It's not that hard usually to tell if someone comes off as a big ol bitch.

But again, remember, just because they say something you don't want to hear doesn't mean they're mean. Define a "mean" reviewer based on how they word the feedback, not the feedback itself. If you truly believe their feedback was mean, ask someone else (preferably another reviewer) for their honest opinion on your work. If two or more people agree, then it's probably true and you need to get over yourself.

And no, asking your friends or readers doesn't count unless they can tell you straight up to your face if something is bad. Because I shouldn't have to say this but, your friends and readers will most likely be at least a little biased in your favor cause... they're your supporters.

bUt a rEvIeWer tOlD mE mY bOoK iS pErFecT!!!!! Ha, nice try but no book is perfect if it's on wattpad and/or your first book. There are also reviewers who are uneducated. A lot of reviewers themselves don't know how to give a proper critique, their feedback can be good from a simple perspective, but simple perspectives don't help when you need to look at your work in depth. If you don't know much about writing or what you need to look for in a story, don't open a shop trying to give advice, recall my Grey's Anatomy analogy from earlier?

How to find a seasoned reviewer? Read their previous reviews and see how detailed they are.

A good reviewer should know how to spot things like: A story's description and its structure, hook/opening, grammar, sentence structure and length, wording, dialogue, plot structure, plot holes, clarity, descriptions, characters, pace, flow, writing style, crutch words/phrases/repetitiveness, originality, the list goes on. And they should also show examples to support their arguments.

In simple terms, the more detailed the better.

There's a saying I like to tell people and it's "No good book hasn't been rewritten." And its some of the truest shit. Your favorite traditional books, they're not first drafts. They've spent way more time in the works being edited and revised than you think. No good writer throws together a story and that's it.

And to quote Motionless In White's song Immaculate Misconception like the lame emo I am, "Open your mind before your mouth."

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