Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From the Editor: Check Your Ego at the Door

A few days ago, I was perusing writing craft books at an online retail site, looking for one that would suit my present needs. I clicked on a few that looked promising, read the descriptions, and then, reluctantly, checked out ratings and reviews given by readers.

I say “reluctantly” because among the thoughtful and useful comments lurk occasional venomous tirades whose only purpose appears to be inflating the egos of those writing them. Such postings are usually attached to the one or two low ratings given to books that otherwise rank highly in readers’ opinions. While I recognize these attacks for what they are, I simply detest subjecting myself to someone else’s negativity.

One of the titles I looked at fell squarely into this category: mostly positive 4- and 5-star reviews with a solitary one-star review. And sure enough, the person behind the one-star felt the need to declare that the author, a long-published journalist with many credits to his name, “lacks writing skill.” Curious, I dug a little deeper and discovered this “reviewer” had nothing positive to say about any of the three writing books he/she has “reviewed.”

These kind of commentaries really do nothing except make the person who’s writing them look bad. Even if the writer has a valid gripe against an author, or the publishing industry at large, hiding behind a fake name to spew hateful comments destroys any credibility the argument might have.

Writing is hard work. Successful writers diligently work at their craft, write as much and as often as they can, and never give up. Instead of tearing someone else down, they build themselves up by continuing to learn, grow, and try. They are professional in their dealings with others.

Keep writing, keep learning, keep growing. Have a goal, and keep it firmly in your sights. Use criticism as an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve your work. When you get a rejection, understand that your book may not fit a particular market, might need more work, and that agent tastes can be subjective. Be polite and professional toward your fellow writers.

And don’t be that writer who is memorable for the wrong reasons.  

Robin Widmar
Managing Editor, Writing from the Peak


  1. Such great advice! You really need that positive attitude to make it--thanks for the reminder, Robin.

  2. "...don't be that writer who is memorable for the wrong reasons." Amen, Robin! Thank you for a great post.


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