An author whose work I enjoy is Susanna Kearsley, who writes timeslip romances linking her characters through time and distance in a spiritual way. I visited her website recently and found some excellent advice for all authors, aspiring, struggling and otherwise:
No book or story will ever please everyone. Don’t worry if yours isn’t loved (or even liked) by every reader. How many books do you know of that could be passed around a group of friends, a reading group, a room, and be universally loved? Not many. Remember the tale of the Old Man, the Boy, and the Donkey, and write your own story the way that it wants to be written.
After reading that, I realised I waste too much time second guessing myself and my writing. Ms Kearsley is very wise on this one, because what made me think that everyone who reads my novels, even avid followers of my chosen genre, are going to 'get' what I or my characters are saying?
I checked Ms Kearsley's numerous reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and she's right. To my mind, her books are beautifully written with some insightful emotions, but on average about ten percent of readers give her one or two star ratings.
Which tells me that an uncomplimentary review shouldn't put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, nor does it mean I have no right to call myself a writer and resolve to ditch the laptop and take up baking - Therefore I'm going to stop worrying and work harder to make the next novel better.
Here's a reminder of the old Aesop's fable: