I have a confession to make. I spend a lot of time on the Internet. I tell myself it’s for research purposes or to learn more about writing. Pinterest is filled with advice from budding authors and bloggers on how to be a “better”writer, or how to improve an aspect of your story, so you can reach your goals of being published. I’ve got a few articles like this on my own blog. Sometimes, I learn a good tip and I share it.
Sometimes, the stuff I find out there really gets me down.
I believe in paying it forward, helping out, creating an online community, so I harbor the belief (albeit naive) that others out there are like me, sharing information from the goodness of their hearts. For the sake of this article, let’s call them the Creators.
Most people are.
But that’s just part of the picture. The other part are perhaps more jaded. They may want to prove they know something, that their opinions are right, or they could have a massive slush pile filled with the same plot devices, too often seen. And if they see another example of (fill in the blank) they’re going to lose it. Again, just for the sake of this article, let’s call them the Critics.
Please, I’m not saying that everyone who creates information is a Creator and everyone who criticizes it is a Critic and that’s that. Instead, I believe creativity and criticism fall on the same spectrum.
Writers need to be both.
Preferably somewhere in the middle where they can shift one way or another depending on which task they are doing: Writing, Editing, Plotting, Critiquing, etc.
Where the Internet Comes in
As writers, in those moments you’re not writing (we all have them), you may be out there querying, promoting your books, or setting up a blog tour or Netgalley to get some reviews. Or you might be “researching.”
And somewhere in your surfing, you’re going to encounter an article that discourages you.
- It might be a statistic about how much (or little) authors really make.
- It might be a list of submission guidelines from a publisher or agent, telling you that the story idea you thought was so great is overused and filling up their slush pile.
- It might be a terrible review of your last book.
- It might even be a new thing you need to do before you start writing a book (and you’re already in the middle of writing it).
None of these things are bad. (Even the terrible reviews!)
- At the right time, they could inspire you to the next stage of your writing.
- At the wrong time, they could tear away all your resolve and make you want to quit.
Timing is everything.
In my own experience, I’ve found plenty of articles that weren’t for me. I’ve had my share of negative reviews, and my fair share of rejections and discouragement. In order to keep going, I’ve had to learn to filter the information coming from the Internet–even the vast amounts of really great information (which can be overwhelming).
After all, in addition to being a great resource, it’s also full of misinformation or information that is of no help to me if I read it at the wrong time. (Like when I should be writing).
Sometimes, I just have to turn it off.
How about you? In the comments below, tell me what’s your technique? How do you filter and sort through the plethora of information, some of which is negative?
Thanks, and happy writing!