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Dealing with writers’ block and bad reviews

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later i can build castles.”

Shannon Hale

In your journey as a writer, it will not always be roses and sunshine. For every couple of wins, approvals, five-star ratings, and excellent reviews, you will have to contend with a few back-end losses. These include some pretty harsh reviews, low ratings, unlimited revisions, outright rejection, and ever-lurking writer’s block. 

Writing is the creative art of using words to influence a reader through information, entertainment, amusement, instruction, inspiration, or appeal. That mental, emotional, and spiritual influence is the goal of every good writer and the real reward for the pen’s labor. That goal makes the pressure of excellence bearable most of the time.

For a writer to deal effectively with writers’ block, low ratings, or bad reviews, he must come from a position of understanding that influence is the key, and practice, mistakes, and feedback is key to building craft and honoring that skill.

Dealing with bad reviews

In your journey as a writer, bad reviews will come, how you position yourself to respond to it will make all the difference. Here are a few tips

  • Your message is not for everybody. Your books, articles, poems, and quotes will not appeal to everyone. Do not stress too much when someone doesn’t agree with your perspective, style, or flare. As much as you will always strive to be the best you can be, rest in the understanding that you cannot appeal to every audience. Find your audience, and they will always value your content.
  • Respond, don’t react. Striving for mastery in the world of ‘penprenuership’ involves the willingness to interact with bad reviews, and try to see how you can make it better. However, you need to learn that criticism of your work is not necessarily personal. Never let a bad review define your work, passion, or talent.
  • Learn from mistakes. I know you are a fantastic writer, you love what you do, and you give your best to it. However, it doesn’t always come out the way you want, and the client may complain. Accept responsibility, apologize to your client, and do your best to improve on it. 
  • Upgrade your art. The best way to deal with bad reviews is to come in stronger! Get the latest smart tools that can help you work wonders with words, get yourself a proof-reader, join communities, take writing courses, and groups that can help you improve your game. 

Dealing with writers’ block

This is the nemesis of every writer. There’s almost no immunity from this monster. However, a few tips can help fight and win against it.

  • Don’t panic. The block doesn’t last forever when you feel that mental fatigue or blankness, relax, and ride the wave without any fear of not being able to write again.
  • Change your routine. Sometimes, routines may dull the mind and stop the creative juices from flowing; if the block has anything to do with your mood, mix things up a bit, and you may start feeling the flow again.
  • Distract yourself. A bout of writers’ block may result from stress, pressure, or fear of not being able to strike gold with your pen this time. You may just need a break. Go outdoors, go for a run, hang out with friends and family, or visit a zoo or see a movie. Also, some exercises may help you blow off some steam.
  • Find something to eat (or drink). Maybe you are so passionate about work that you skip lunch, or you are dehydrated; these are recipes for a severe block that can only be stopped when you eat, rehydrate, or both. 
  • Take a break. After you have tried everything and nothing seems to have worked, it is time to take a break. You may need some rest, a nap, or just some time to meditate; whatever you do, a break from work always has a way of restoring freshness, perspective, and infusion of new ideas.

Writing may be challenging and sometimes thankless, but the passion for that masterwork should keep you working, upgrading, researching, and creating. The only way to build the reputation, impact and income of a seasoned writer is to continue writing no matter the obstacles.

The destination is in the process. Keep writing.

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