In the years since we moved into our house, we haven’t bothered to fix a purpose to our basement family room. It’s just sort of there, a room to walk through on the way to my office. Recently, we decided it was time to update the room and uncover its functionality. We’re creating a media room slash reading room slash hanging out room slash game room….you know, an old fashioned, multi-purpose family room.
Duh! Why didn’t we think of this before?! 🙂
Finalizing the paint color on the walls was easy. The carpet was a no brainer because we’re leaving what’s already there. We even had curtains stashed in a closet that are perfect for our needs. Furniture, however, became the stumbling block to our entire vision. So, yesterday, we went window shopping in one of the biggest furniture warehouse outlets in our area. After spending three hours dashing from couch to reclining chair to sectional we were getting pretty tired and frustrated. Nothing quite fit our vision.
Just when we were ready to throw up our hands and call it a day, in the far back corner of the warehouse, we found the one. It was the sectional “nest” we were looking for, literally the last one available, too. We were eager to find a salesman to seal the deal. But it was getting late, the purchase was going to take time to finalize, and the dogs needed to be fed, so we decided to go home and buy it the next day. This morning, we both woke up with hesitations.
The cost of everything these days is always a huge factor but, putting that aside, it was the function of the piece that kept coming up in this morning’s discussion. It fit, but was it going to overpower the room? How many people could we accommodate on it? Could we use it for extra sleeping in a crunch? Would so-and-so actually climb into the middle of it to watch a movie with us? Was the seating too intimate for company outside the family?
I won’t drag you through our entire conversation but the upshot is we decided it’s impossible to please everyone, the best we could do was accommodate our vision. The same principle applies to writing.
“You can’t please me!”
Nothing blindsides a writer faster than reading a bad review that states unequivocally the heroine is TSTL (Too Stupid to Live), the hero isn’t sexy, or the plot sucks boulder-sized rocks. It’s almost as bad as seeing a reader trash our latest release on a favorite reader loop – even worse, on Amazon – saying it’s a waste of time and money to consider buying the book. You know there will be readers who will take that evaluation to heart and not give the story a chance.
This knowledge rips into our psyche, our confidence, sometimes makes us second-guess our entire writing career. After all, when we sit down to write each day, our intent is to please every last “me” who picks up our novel. It doesn’t matter if we’re a newbie writer or a seasoned professional with awards and book sales either. We all write and revise and critique and revise again until we’re satisfied we’ve done all we can to capture the story.
It’s unrealistic to think we can strike a chord with every reader that picks up our novel, but we can’t help but want that perfect relationship nonetheless. Do we want all of our readers to know how hard we work to knock their socks off? Damn Skippy, we do! We can’t spend our entire career justifying our writing choices either.
Will everyone love everything I’ve written? I wish! Will it still hurt when a reader tells me my baby has big ears and a crooked nose? Absolutely. The bottom line is building a thick skin is one of those critical writing skills I’ve been working hard to develop, right alongside writing the very best story I can, one that captures my vision. With luck, a lot of readers will enjoy that vision too.