Writing Can Be Murder

October 31, 2006

The monsters that show up every day

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 11:33 am

Yeah, I know it’s Halloween. Boo humbug!

 Today I’m thinking about a different kind of monster. I’m talking your dreaded SELF-CRITIC. Aahhhhhh!

In the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about that monster that resides within us, rearing its ugly head at the worst possible times.

 First Beth Ciotta talked about her bout with the brain snatcher last Friday. www.bethciotta.blogspot.com

 Then I told a friend how upset I’d been by my first review for Nowhere to Hide. I only received 4.5 stars (out of 5). This was a tragedy. I was a failure. What the hell had I been thinking getting a book published? I’m a hack. ((Ok, probably sounds melodramatic but it’s what went through my head.)) My next two reviews were FIVE STARS but I still wasn’t happy. Why? There’s no better review to receive but that damned critic kept whispering in my ear that the reviewers were off their rockers. (Yes, as my dear friends pointed out — none too kindly, not that I’m holding a grudge or anything… — I’m the one who is nuts. I should be THRILLED with my reviews. During my good moments I am, during the not-so-great moments I’m filled with doubt.)

 Then today I was talking to a guy who had just participated in a tournament. I asked how he’d done. He did not look too happy when he said “Fourth.” and I was thinking, Maybe there were only ten people in the tournament. So I asked how many competed. I don’t remember the exact number but it was WELL OVER 100!

He beat nationally ranked players. He beat a ton of other players, but still he wasn’t happy.

I know how that feels. So all I said was something dumb like Fourth place is pretty good.  I did not launch into the whole, “Fourth out of 100-something. That’s awesome. You should be proud of yourself!” thing, because I know that when people say it to me, it sounds hollow, but now I’m wondering if I should have said it. Maybe he needs to hear it. Maybe we all need to hear it. So…

 Beth YOU Rock!

John YOU Rock!

Jen….you’re doing okay….



  1. Jen, let me be the first to say for you to hear: YOU ROCK!!!!!

    Comment by Cyndi — October 31, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Okay, okay — I’ll give you a raise. 🙂

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — October 31, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  3. So is your next book about a serial killer who targets book critics? I’m picturing some very grisly murder scenes. Like in Seven where the guy died from eating Spaghettios. Except maybe the critics should have to eat the books they trashed.

    Comment by Kate Perry — November 1, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Naah, I had no problem with the critics. So far they’ve been overwhelmingly positive about the book — but I love your comparison to Seven — now you’re starting to think like me…scary!!!!

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — November 1, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

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