A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
– Charles Dickens
Once, when a succession of publishers rejected one of my early, yet-to-be published masterpieces (The King of Cartoons), I slid into a deep slough of despond (maybe even a Slough of despair).
I’d been sure this was the one. I had fabulous endorsements for the book from two fantastic, award-winning writers, Michael Marshall Smith and Graham Joyce – but the publishers, as is their right, disagreed. One American publisher was downright hostile (I think it was because I renamed New York, Old York … ‘that just would not happen‘, they said, even though the book was absurdist sci-fi … you’d have to read the book, believe me there was a good reason).
This hit me hard. I’d spent a lot of time in the states. Travelled through 26 states. Had great times there and met wonderful friends.
This rejection derailed my writing for a long time. Made me doubt myself. Made me second guess publishers. My book of future story ideas suddenly seemed like a book full of nonsense. It was pointless.
It was my partner – now wife – who helped me to find a way out of this spiral of negativity, by pointing out rule #4 – Don’t Use Criticism As a Razor.
“Not everybody will like what you write,” she said. “If it wasn’t by you, I wouldn’t buy it. It’s not the sort of book I enjoy. And even publishers have subjective tastes with a genre.” I’m paraphrasing – her advice was much sharper, but you get the drift.
Sometimes it’s only those closest to you that can tell you the truths you need to hear. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and write! Or as the late, great Ray Bradbury put it: Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build our wings on the way down.
& Why you should ignore this golden rule: Don’t.
Up next: Write like a Stephen King style writing machine!