Tuesday, July 12, 2016

So Many Distractions

There’s no use in denying just how easily distracted I can get. I’ve been sitting here in the library for the past two hours, ready to write something, anything, to keep my writing stuff going. I’ve been meaning to start edits on Dead-End Demons, a follow-up to 2012’s Speed Demons. I have short stories for a fast food anthology I’ve been working on. I even have a novel I need to complete, waiting for me to return to it. So I should be producing something.

Instead, I find myself playing games or just surfing the internet, bogged down in flights of fancy rather than in being productive. The bright and shiny lights and fun blips and beeps keep me occupied, and not in a conducive manner. In fact, just in the creation of this post, I wound up faltering at least three times that I can count. It’s so easy to steer away from the path I need to be on, especially when I have at least six to ten tabs open on my web browser. How am I supposed to get any work done when I keep doing this?

One thing that snaps me back into focus is remembering that I’m the one in charge of my dream. If I don’t do the work that’s required of me, I’ll never be fully content. Sure, there’s an immediate gratification offered in the news feeds of my favorite web sites, and of course there’s always that fun cat video to watch. But these things do not get my writing done. I have to snap myself away from the distractions if I’m ever going to have a shot of being happy.

And writing makes me happy.

What makes you happy? What steps do you take to make sure distractions don’t tear you away from your goals?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My First One-Star Rating

Being an eight-time published novelist now, I sometimes like to see how my books are doing as far as ratings/reviews go. I know I should only focus on working on my next work and getting it out into the world. But human nature loves to flirt with curiosity, and I occasionally look to see what reactions people give my books. I already have those loyal fans who are hopelessly hooked on my stories, and I appreciate them for it. Still, I take that occasional trip over to see those numeric values.

Not me, but he could play me in the movie about my life.
So of course I check out my titles on Goodreads. One of the books, A Mage Among Trolls, has become the first title to earn a one-star rating over at that website. Now, there are two things to note about this. I know not everyone will like my writing, and I’m okay with this. It also leads me to my second point. My very reaction to the one-star rating surprised me. I’ve heard stories of authors laying on the proverbial loudspeaker to blast the person who didn’t care for their work. And for many months, I’ve planned to just dance around and sing a happy song because I’ve planned to take this in great stride, a laugh-in-your-face sort of approach to getting a poor rating.

Instead, my reaction to the one-star is a simple shrug. I find my response quite shocking for one simple fact. It means my skin has grown thicker as an author. I’m not sure how that happened, because I remember the first time I got edits back from an editor. Every last red mark felt like blood dripping out of the knife wound in my back at that time. And now I barely blink when someone leaves a poor rating. I think this is called growth, or maturity, or something like that.

How have you handled criticism of any sort? Have you shrugged it off, or have you found yourself struggling with it?