What and How?

DSCN3932by Neva Bodin

What word or phrase will I cling to this year in my writing journey? It must be inspirational (to get me going), motivational (to keep me going), and strengthening (to not let me bog down with discouragement from helpful and not-so-helpful critiques).

I came up with the above question after reading on the website: http://heartswithapurpose.com/four-powerful-questions-you-need-to-ask-at-years-end/

writer cartoon

Since I didn’t formally ask or answer those four questions at years end, (which you can read at that website), I thought perhaps it wasn’t too late to ask myself one at the first quarter of this year. It takes some thought. Perhaps it will answer my personal mission statement as far as writing: I write to tell the stories racing around in my brain, and to create entertainment and insight for my readers.


I think what I should repeat to myself is, just believe in my calling and do it! Along with that I have to face my fears of putting it out there and having a negative review. Which should be expected, at least with a negative review, someone had enough passion (albeit not the reason for passion I would want) to write a review!

How would I handle being a politician! The answer is of course, I wouldn’t. But hopefully I could handle a bad review.

As with most writers, real and present life issues interrupt. And help me support any other issues I have with putting off writing.

So I have two questions for readers today: 1) How do you handle your fear of putting your writing out there? 2) And on a different note, how do you handle inner thoughts on your characters, with or without italics?


13 thoughts on “What and How?

  1. I welcome negative reviews, if they let me know what brought the review down. Otherwise I ignore them.

    If the thought is a conversation in their head, I use italics. Otherwise I use third person omniscient.

    Great post, and get those words out there. My thought has been, not everyone will like what I write, but the one person who wants or needs to hear my words, I write for them. Doris


  2. My years as a newspaper reporter made me thick-skinned. Criticism is inevitable be it a newspaper story or a novel. As to inner thoughts, I use italics if ‘direct’ inner thoughts.


    1. Well, I like italics too, but the writing teacher I have is saying the thing now is to not use italics. Also, to not put the “Oxford Comma” in. And if a quote covers more than one paragraph, to just use quotes at the beginning of the first and end of the last. I have seen that direction mixed up in some novels and it’s confusing sometimes. And who comes out with these “new” rules anyway? I think I will use italic, let the commas fall where they may, and think about the quote rule. Thanks for the reply.


  3. Great post, Neva. I’ve been blessed with positive reviews, with one exception, and I had to just brush it aside. I agree with Doris — you can write for everyone, but for those one, two, or six, whatever number it is, you were meant to write for that one (or more). And, as we all know, we have stories to share — we are writers and so write we must! Thanks for a great post! (and yes, I use italics and plan to do so).


  4. I understand- but we all get at least one negative review, so bite the bullet and get it over with. LOL I work into the narrative that the person is thinking, no italics. I need to get busy writing. Cher’ley


  5. Good questions, Neva. Criticism of any kind is hard to swallow, at times, but it’s unrealistic for everything to turn out 100% all of the time and from all sources. I’m not sure being an author would be the best thing for anyone who tends towards extreme anxiety about themselves or their achievements. It would certainly give them huge goals to overcome but the inner turmoil of even a 3 star review sounds pretty bad.


  6. When putting my work out there I remind myself you can’t please everyone, BUT you don’t need to please everyone.
    I was at a gathering and heard someone raving about my book. Later I thanked her for spreading the word and told her I was glad she liked it. During the conversation I learned she hadn’t actually read it. She loved the photos. So for her the images made it a great book. For someone else the fact that she could share it with her young daughter made it a good book. Another reader a photographer was disappointed because I didn’t put in the technical stuff like camera settings and lens sizes. Everyone is looking for something different, so you can’t please them all.


  7. Criticism and negative reviews are tough to swallow but part of being a writer. I learned that early on and so far, I’ve been lucky to be relatively happy with my reviews (knock on wood) but that time will come, I’m sure. I did have writer groups in the past tell me not to come back after reading my pages so that’s gotta hurt, right? But I just sucked it up and tried a different group (which ended up being the best thing I ever did). Your work isn’t going to be for everyone and it shouldn’t be anyway if it’s unique. As for inner dialogue, I do both but most of the time, I don’t use italics. It seems to work better for me. Great post, Neva.


  8. When I send things out, I don’t think too much about what readers will think. Criticism can sting, but I try to put it in perspective. I don’t get everything right, but reviewers don’t either.

    Regarding thoughts, I handle them as Doris does. Regarding the Oxford comma, I consider it a necessity; when it’s omitted, I often have to stop and read the sentence over from the beginning. Regarding the new rule for quotation marks around more than one paragraph–that’s crazy. As for new rules in general, WHY?


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