This blog post is a special one. I am participating in the 'Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer's Doubt' held by Positive Writer. And through the contest, I would like to share an experience which I haven't shared to anyone.
A couple of years ago, I gathered all my poems and decided to self-publish a book titled Sonnia's Sonnets. My materials came from the poems I wrote in the past. It was not my intention to sell the book. I wanted to hold a hard copy of my work. It was a big trial and error, just like the several fiction short stories and fiction novels I started and submitted through my home-study class under Long Ridge Writers Group (LRWG). I connected the book to my Goodreads and Amazon accounts. Several of my friends bought it, and I thought publishing a fiction book was something I'd really like to do. So, I eagerly wrote more, since my target was to publish them, have an agent, and become a best-selling fiction novelist.
I'm also an avid reader. Through reading, I learned that a story is not complete without an antagonist. In real life, too, antagonists are present. People enveloped in jealousy or envy would try hard to destroy something positive just because it gives temporary happiness to their depressed state. That happened to me. An anonymous person stalked my accounts and posted hate comments and reviews about Sonnia's Sonnets. Strangely, that person never bought any copy of the book. No record of a purchase. It was a horrible act. My writing muse went into hiding after that. I asked myself, “Will this be the kind of situation I'd be dealing with every time I publish a book? The book is just a trial and I already have a bully.” Sonnia's Sonnets was not even known to a lot of people. I only shared it to a small part of my friend's circle.
I stopped writing. I doubted my own ability to write something likeable by others. I even postponed and rescheduled all my writing assignments. I couldn't find my muse and write. Nothing came out. I became dismayed, not with my ability to write, but with how people see what I wrote. All the while I thought that if someone hated my writing, everybody would feel the same. All the pessimism came rushing in my head, and I didn't find the inspiration to release the thoughts that disappointed me. I isolated my writing creativity and found different things to do instead. It was a writer's doubt provoked by a bully.
I felt horrible not writing; it was painful, to be exact. I couldn't release my creativity. I didn't know how to start it again. Thankfully, I had friends to talk to. Through them I gained back my strength in writing. Some of them advised me what to do, and some listened to my aches and pains. I encased myself inside a dark tunnel, but my friends gave me the light I needed. One by one, I reported all the hate messages, comments, and reviews. They were all taken out, and while that happened, I received different advice from my friends about cyber-bullies. The best part was the positive comments I got about my book. Even though not all of them were posted publicly, I felt relieved that someone liked my book. One person made a big difference, and in my situation, not only one individual liked it.
I armed myself with the love given by my friends everyday. Slowly, my writing muse appeared. I was able to write again. I reconnected with my LRWG professor and finished several missed assignments. I felt free. I also encountered Harper Lee's quote on Goodreads: "“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide." [Writer's Digest, September 1961]”― Harper Lee.
There will be bullies and haters everywhere anytime, but I know my capabilities as a writer. Writing is alive within me, and I can protect it by not doubting. Surrounding myself with optimism and loving individuals also help. My hide grows thick everyday.