"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
Sure. Right. I can delude myself into thinking what people say doesn't matter, but it does. Thankfully, it doesn't matter much to me. I'm the Queen of Rejection, the Master of Being Passed Over. I even like the sound of that, so I think I'll keep that title.
I do like praise, though. I can push through insults, grit my teeth against a storm of criticism and just keep on going. I'm tough and thick-skinned. But when somebody says something nice, I get all mushy inside.
Consider this comment, from one of my fellow contributors to the up-coming Death by Chocolate anthology, who edited my story:
I’m not going to be much help to you, Cheryl –I adore the story as it is. I think your writing is gorgeous! I’m crazy about the character names and the village setting. (I have a thing for historical fiction.) It was actually difficult to critique because I got sucked into the story. I’m getting so excited about our anthology! Have you published any novels or plan to self-pub? I’d love to read your books and I’m not just saying that to be a nice author friend. I love your writing style!
Even better, this author's work was AWESOME--a great story!--so her praise means more to me. And asking about other stuff I've written was icing on the cake. Unfortunately, I haven't published any e-books. (Darn!)
Another writer, who has read my first novel (which I'm currently querying out to agents), has been e-mailing me about my fourth novel, set in the Caribbean, literally, since it's about a siren. Yesterday, she told me:
I am desperate to read your mermaid story. Can I beta read or have you got that all done?
*sigh* She actually used the word "desperate"! Can you think of anything more invigorating? Of course, I haven't even revised the rough draft for this novel, and it's really terrible at this point, so she'll have to wait to read it... but isn't that an awesome comment?!? Even now I'm grinning.
More important, I'm writing. I'm taking the whole day to work on my Thomas novel (Novel #1), to get it ready for the ABNA contest (which I'll blog on soon). And now I have one more reason to get to work on my mermaid novel--and that means revising #3 first. Will I actually get three novels totally revised this year? Who knows? These little bits of praise, scattered here and there and reaching me at the best times, keep me hopeful. And they keep me writing (which is even more important).
Is there someone you can praise? Someone who needs a boost? You never know what magic your comments might work in the lives of someone else.