Writers Neurosis

May 17, 2017

 

Definition- A relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

I’m quite disenchanted with the entire process of publishing books. Maybe I had idealized books and publishing. Because the worlds I read about are so far removed from our own, that I expected them to exist outside it.

Yet, when I get a complimentary review from some stranger I get excited. But why? Those silly stars take on meaning, even if I knew someone rolled dice to determine them. Okay, the Psych students out there will start running through a list of reasons. About my childhood, my parents, my birth order, etc. I’m sure my neurosis has a reason, knowing what it is won’t matter. Yet, people way more messed up than me seem to do it okay.

Intellectually I know ratings at their root, are a form of peer pressure. I should just write and enjoy it. Yet, I find myself going back to amazon and checking to see if I’ve been ranked.

Yet, when I look at some books I dislike I can’t fathom why they get the reviews they do. Perhaps, the author is a clever hacker with 500 accounts writing his own reviews or I’m just so far away from the society’s norms that I don’t identify with the work? Am I an idiot for not employing some method, cheating or otherwise, for getting reviews? How much time do I devote to the process? Not easy for me because it involves the dreaded M-word, Marketing. I tell myself that I hate marketing and being marketed to, it seems we are under a constant bombardment of commercial messages. Why would I want to join in? Why would I think that my efforts would bear results? But it’s something I MUST do.

Here’s how my pitch sounds to me, regardless of the words I use.

“Here’s my book, it's kinda funny, you might like it. Wanna give me five bucks for it?”

“No? You think its sounds pretty dumb. Okay, thanks.”

Now, when I review books, I worry about giving anything lower than 3 stars, for fear of hurting anyone's feelings. And I worry for the people that revel in giving books bad reviews just out of spite and hate. Are they me in 20 years? Old and bitter and rejected? Spitting out bile and poison to destroy others happiness in a vain effort to redress some affront or perceived injustice?

Publishing your words and thoughts, is for some, an act of opening up our inner self to the world. Exposing those secret imaginings to public scrutiny. Having it judged unworthy, could be traumatic even when we know the reviewer is some bitter wanna-be. So, despite knowing reviews don't matter, they still do. Despite knowing it's some function of a bizarre random sampling of society, they still affect us.

To overcome this I recommend you find one or two people, people who love you. People you know will be supportive and constructive and listen only to them. Publish only for them. Write only for them. If you have that you can survive.

If you publish, prepare for disappointment and hope for acceptance and when you get one or both know that it isn’t real. Opinions are worth what they cost, nothing. 

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