your Barbie confidence plan is inside
At fifty thousand feet of railway track spanning eight miniature countries, the massive Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany holds the Guinness record for the largest train set in the world.
Barbie World, birthplace of a thousand stories, existed in a twenty-four-square-foot basement room in my BFF’s house.
With limited available Barbie styles, we improvised.
Knights of the Round Table? We fabricated tinfoil armor. Castles of cardboard connected with bridges crossed the room’s expanse.
Mermaid Barbie? We sewed mermaid tails. Outside in the garden, I learned to pour concrete to craft a mermaid lagoon.
We told endless stories of family drama, epic fantasies, and time travel. Sometimes an astronaut would visit. Or the local vampire.
A Terminator-inspired cyborg (Ken suited up in tinfoil) showed up in one story and kidnapped Skipper.
Those Barbies got up to some wild adventures.
Children are endless shameless joyful fountains of creativity.
Stories flow from their brains directly out their mouths. (Watch them for five minutes and their whole bodies get in on the story action.)
And then somewhere along the way...
Someone helpfully suggests, “You can’t have a vampire and cyborg be best friends. That makes no sense. They shouldn’t be in the same story.”
A kid at school says, “You still play with Barbies? That’s stupid.”
Another kid says, “Astronauts are dumb. I like race car drivers.”
And so it begins.
The slow death-by-a-thousands cuts of your confidence. Or maybe it's one specific event that broke your heart and confidence in your stories. Either way, something happened that told you your writing isn't safe with other people and you need to be protected.
Although we never lose that full-body desire to tell stories, we don’t want to get laughed at, rejected, or criticized.
We may stop sharing stories.
Sharing your writing with the world requires an extreme act of vulnerability. You're putting your inner self of dreams out there for the world to look at and judge.
Criticism hurts for a reason. You’ve taken a risk and put yourself out there. It’s painful to have someone say, “I don’t like this.”
So as a writer who wants to share their stories with the world, what can you do to combat this fear?
Make a plan. So that when you do face criticism, you know how to respond.
Instead of worrying about all the things someone might say and spinning yourself up, you can stop those thoughts by telling yourself, “I got a plan. I know what to do.”
What does that plan look like?
Here are three very simple steps to get you started.
#1 Take time to process.
Step away from the criticism and practice self-care. Go for a walk. Meditate. Vent all your feelings at someone you trust. Do something you love that brings you joy. My favorite thing is to go out in the garden and dig something up, prune a tree, pull some weeds. The trick is to find a healthy, constructive place to let off those negative emotions. Surviving as a writer means learning to accept or ignore criticism and rise above your hurt feelings.
#2 Don’t respond.
Let’s assume we’re talking about strangers and not your grandmother. Dealing with unsupportive family or friends is another article. For now, let’s focus on anonymous readers posting reviews on Goodreads/Amazon/Wherever. NEVER RESPOND. Just because you can hit reply, defend yourself, and vent your spleen? DON’T! Book reviews ARE NOT for writers. They’re for READERS. Reviews are opinions. They’re not professional critiques or advice. They’re like that kid I mentioned who likes race car drivers and not astronauts. Best thing you can do? Don’t read reviews. Especially if you know they’re going to hurt you.
#3 Keep writing.
Your job isn’t to manage reader response to what you write. You can’t. You have no control what-so-ever about what a reader thinks of your writing. Let that thought go now. Your job is to keep writing books and getting them out there.
Sadly, we are our own biggest and most damaging critics.
There are going to be people out there who LOVE the stories you’re telling.
We spend so much time worrying about the people that are going to hate what we’re writing, we often forget there are people who are going to be our raving fans.
Focus on them.
Send your favorite way of dealing with criticism to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Offering massive support and one-on-one coaching strategies, Jocelyn helps serious writers roll up their sleeves, and get their novel ready to publish. From inspiration to publication, her clients kick their doubts to the curb, then go on to reach readers and sign with dream agents.
www.BookCoachCollective.com - Click here for a list of our coaches and more information.