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Anyone who hasn't had a bad review of their work doesn't fully understand the stress that comes with being a writer. I recently had one of these reviews. And it seriously made me doubt that what I had put years into was even worth it.

It's bad enough that we pour out our blood and sweat and tons of tears into our work without a single affirming word from anyone saying, "What a swell job you're doing" or "Though you haven't made a penny of your writing in years, your work is truly great."

And we continue to pour away because we are called to write. We can't live without doing that.

This particular negative review of my work, The Puzzle Master, was like a slap in the face, with a punch to the gut, and then just when I thought it was over, a blind-sided karate chop to the back of the legs.

I questioned if her negative review of my work was valid.

I questioned my abilities as a writer.

I wondered if indeed the last eighteen years of college and writing had been a waste of time.

I finally got over me. And wanting to smash in the face of this reviewer.

And a few months later, I got two awesome, glowing reviews.

Here's what I learned from all of this.

1. Don't take reviews seriously. It's SUBJECTIVE. What some people love, others will hate. Just how it is. Reviews are what they are-- reviews. That doesn't mean I'm a great writer, or a lousy one either. Just take the review and move on.

2. I chose to be a writer, and chose to put my work out there, so I have to expect major dislike.

3. When bad things happen, drink coffee. Duh.

Was it Bill Cosby who said something to the effect, "I don't know the steps to success, but I do know the steps to failure is trying to please everyone?" Oh yes indeed!

So there it is. People will like your work, but some people will not like your work. Oh well. We aren't here to please everyone.

A good writer-friend (good writer and good friend) of mine, Lara, once said, "Writing prepares you for parenting: neither one receives any affirmation." So true. This is a genius line. (Lara, told you I'd steal it!)

Having said all of that, reviews can be full of life, uplifting, and also give you the affirmation you've been looking for. So, regardless of reviews, whether bad or good, or neither, keep writing!

**To celebrate the one-year anniversary of my book, The Puzzle Master, in digital form, will be free the 15th and 16th of February!**


  1. I'm so sorry, but its good you had double the positive.

    1. Yes. I'd like to think the double positive completely wipes away the negative ... one can hope! Thanks. :)

  2. I keep hoping for reviews, as an honest critique can only help me grow as a writer. That being said, there are always going to be people who--fairly or unfairly--take shots at what a writer creates. That's the nature of the beast. Take it for what it's worth, and keep writing! You're talented...and you probably don't spell grammar with an "e." *wink*

  3. I'm sorry about the bad review. I had my book self-published for a while and I received a very nasty review, attacking me as a writer. It was very hard to move past. I did find this article and it was helpful.

    Congrats on the positive reviews!

    1. Thanks Krista! I'll go read it.
      Thanks also for your kind worsds. :)

  4. Negative reviews always hurt, but they are a fact of life. I remind myself of all the positive reviews I have that outweigh the negative and then I don't feel so bad.

  5. Good advice from the other replies here, so I really don't have anything to add, except "keep writing." I remember one person commenting on my book to another person, "I wasn't impressed." That created an odd feeling. He never said why. Was it the style of writing? The perspective of the book? The subject matter? He never said, just, "I wasn't impressed." There isn't much you can do with that to try and do better next time. Oh well, that comes with writing. Congratulations on the success of your book!

    1. Thanks Warren! Seriously, I will keep writing. And as said before, we have to deal with the bad and good of it all. This is a part of the job. :) Same to you!


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