No one likes a critic…


Or do they? 
​I confess, I do. Sometimes…
Any artist will tell you how important feedback is to the improvement of their craft. I went to drama school at USC right out of high school and feedback smacked me hard in the face from day one. I like to think it made me tough, but also flexible and open to suggestions. Although no one likes criticism, we do grow from it. As part of our maturation process, artists learn to discern between constructive feedback that informs our work and feedback meant to break our spirit. Was it helpful or meant to be cruel? Was it given from a place of jealousy or genuine care? Finally, does it ring true to you when you hear it? In other words, does it give you an aha moment?
Any writer who has a decent editor will receive pages of notes after every draft. It’s part of the gig. Sometimes the notes make me cringe with embarrassment, but they always make my book better. Every editor I’ve worked with has challenged me and made a better writer. I love learning and will continue to do so until the day I die.
​Almost all artists practicing a craft will tell you the same thing. There is always more to learn. I was surprised when I went to theatre school that even famous actors still took classes and workshops. I don’t know if all writers continue to take workshops and read craft books, but every one I know certainly does. 
​And then there are reviews…
For writers, reviews from readers and book bloggers are a big part of our success or failure. Without them no one finds our books. I’m grateful for every review, good or bad, because it gives my books legitimacy and exposure. Of course, we pray for positive reviews. Oh, how we pray! Nothing feels more vulnerable than putting your heart and soul out for everyone to judge. Each of my books is written from a place of deep commitment to quality and when people don’t like them, it hurts. Bad. For non-writers, think of the most vulnerable and exposed you’ve ever been – that’s what it feels like to release a new book.
​My fifteenth piece of fiction released last week to mostly great reviews. However, a handful of people thought it ended too abruptly. From my perspective, since TRADED: BRODY AND KARA is the first book in my Cliffside Bay Series, my intent was to hold some content back, in order to entice readers to return for the next book. After a long and sleepless night absorbing said feedback and feeling kind of bad…okay, really bad…I won’t lie, it hurts even after 15 books…I realized I could certainly fix the ending if I wanted to. So I did. 
​I spent the weekend writing two new chapters. They’re short and sweet, but give the reader a little glimpse into my intrepid couple’s life after the grand gesture and subsequent marriage proposal. (It’s romance, so don’t judge). 
​Then, I happily loaded it onto the various platforms and went to bed.
That sentence is such a lie.
It took me hours on Sunday to format and load the new chapters onto the various platforms. Hours that I could have been writing or spending time with my family. I was a mess at the end of that day. I was so busy and stressed I forgot to eat lunch, which left me shaky and headachy by the time 6 p.m. rolled around. I emerged from my office feeling like a truck had run over me, but determined to make homemade pizzas for my family. That was another disaster, but I’ll save that for another post. Let’s just say I ended that long day and evening crying in the bathroom. You all know that kind of day, but I digress…
​The bottom line is this: I want to be a successful author. Success to me means two things: I write great books and sell many copies to a solid, loyal fan base. I’m not here to play around and dabble in a hobby. I have sacrificed a lot for this dream and it matters to me that my family have something to show for my hard work. So whatever I have to do to make that happen, I will. But I won’t lie. It’s hard. Like sweat and tears kind of hard. For real.
Anyway, members of my loyal street team love the new chapters. A couple said they didn’t realize they wanted more, but now that it’s there, they love it.
So, there it is. I let feedback inform my work. I think that’s pretty awesome. I’m proud of myself for not letting it discourage me enough to bury my head under the bedcovers for weeks and weeks like I really wanted to. Instead, I tackled the problem. Boom.
​So my already published book has two new chapters. Anyone who bought the ebook should get updates from the various platforms that the book has been updated. I also included the first two chapters of book 2, DELETED: JACKSON AND MAGGIE , which releases May 7. 
Lastly, from one warrior to another, whatever you did recently that frightened you, or that you want so much you’re willing to work like crazy to get it, I salute you. Keep swimming the brave waters. You got this. 
​Cheers. xo

2 thoughts on “No one likes a critic…”

  1. Jean says:

    Tess, your words (and action!) are soinspirational! We can’t always control the actions of others, but we are able to control ours response. Whether we sulk from criticism or grow from it, is our choice. I only hope I can follow your example, hang onto your tailfeathers, and sore like you! Well done!!

  2. Jan Stelzman says:

    When I feel stressed to the max, I destress by reading a upbeat, happy ending romance novel. I just discovered and read Riversong. I enjoyed your novel so much, current stress off the charts, I’m happily downloading Riverstar. Great therapy and good book to loose myself.

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