Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm Really Worried!! by J.P. Bowie

Following on Lisabet's post it would be easy to pick up on that particular bag of woes that seems to plague a lot of us from time to time - the seemingly never ending computer/internet/blogging/pirating/emailing/coming up with fresh ideas/semi-original plot lines, blues. So perhaps I'll concentrate on the word - worry...

To worry means to fret, be concerned, be anxious, agonize, over-think, brood, panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get stressed, get in a state, stew, torment oneself -
Oh my God, see, I suffer from all of those and more.

I had an aunt who personified the word, worry. She worried about everything, but mostly about what people would think. When we'd visit friends - "Oh we must take something, even if it's just a bag  of biscuits - otherwise what will they think?"  She'd leave extra large tips in restaurants because, "Oh I can't have her thinking I can't afford it." Before the cleaning lady came over she'd run around like a dervish dusting and polishing "I can't have her thinking I live in a pigsty!" When she grew old and signed herself into a nursing home she worried that the building would burn to the ground because of all the old people who still smoked - so she slept with her shoes on, ready for a quick getaway. No kidding.

She died at age 96. Who says worrying can kill you before your time?

Actually I'm a bit like her. I worry about the most inconsequential things. Can I wear the same shirt twice in a week at work? Will someone notice? No... Did I notice what Matilda or Hortense was wearing yesterday? No... Yet I worry that they'll think I have only two or three shirts to my name. FYI I do have more than three.

 More to the point, I'm afraid I do fret and agonize about whether readers will like my next book. It doesn't matter that I've sweated bullets over the nuances of the plot, that I've tried to make my lead characters, likeable, charming, hot - that I've made sure, using every formula known to Goodreads, that the sex scenes burn up the pages, I know there will be some so-called reviewer out there who'll dismiss the whole freakin' thing with the words, "Skip it."

Arrgh!

No, no I'm not panicking or losing sleep over it. I'm not getting in a stew, or stressed out. I'm not tormenting myself by thinking that maybe if I'd  only listened to the words of Tammy from Cincinnati that Dalton should never have cheated on Dimitri and she will never read another word I ever write if she lives to be five hundred years old - I might have had a best seller. No, I promise I'm not brooding, over thinking or getting in a state over it. I'm really just...worried.


10 comments:

  1. I am rather similar to the way you describe your aunt, so it's a comfort to know that doesn't preclude me from living until 96. :) My personal worry about wearing the same clothes close together isn't that people will think I don't have more but that they'll think I haven't done laundry and I just wear dirty clothes.

    As far as "Skip it," my other favorite is, "I've read better books." Which is certainly true (after all, I'm not Tolstoy), and yet it burns.

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    1. I DO wear dirty clothes (one of my cats is licking food off my shirt as I type this) but I live and work alone so I really don't care.

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  2. Funny, JP, but 'what will readers think?' is one of the few things I don't worry about. I think I've come to terms with the fact that my writing just doesn't fit what the masses want. Furthermore, aside from what I'm already doing, what action could I possibly take that would make them think better of me?

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  3. I've cured some of my worrying by just avoiding Goodreads! LOL.

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    1. No kidding. I don't think I've signed into my Goodreads account in like 2 years.

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    2. I get sad because the reader in me loves Goodreads but the fastest way for me to get depressed about my writing ability is to go there. :( I wish there was some way to visit the site but block myself from viewing my own work.

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  4. For some irrational reason I worry more when reviewers say they didn't like the book because they didn't like the heroine. I try to write realistic men and women, and some of the female characters are very much based on me. So I guess in some people's minds strong, loud and demanding females don't deserve love? So only the virginal, virtuous young females are "worthy"? Or am I taking things too personally...maybe they just prefer more traditionally feminine heroines, and they aren't passing judgement on me? Now I'll get back to worrying about how many females there are like me in the world, and if any of them ever read romance, because if not, my target audience just got very small!

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    1. I had a story rejected last month because the editor hated my characters. HATED them. It really bugs me that likeability is a must-have quality for romance characters. No wonder I can't stand the genre. It's so much fun to hate characters--if it wasn't, nobody would ever watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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    2. These are great points. I've been thinking lots about a blog post I read a while ago called, "Real Girls, Fake Girls, Everybody Hates Girls." It lays out a pretty convincing case for how there's a lot of misogyny underlying these kinds of problems, and that there isn't a way out for an author. No matter how you write a woman, the piece argues, she'll be called unrealistic or not likable or wrong in some other way—much the way real-life women are often criticized from many angles. The post is here, if you're curious: http://thezoe-trope.blogspot.com/2013/08/real-girls-fake-girls-everbody-hates.html

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  5. Jp, your aunt sounds just like my mother. If there wasn't something to worry about, she'd do something to make sure there was.

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