Tara West

YA paranormal/fantasy and New Adult author

Ignore the haters and keep writing…

18 Comments

mommy pankerFive years ago I suffered a breakdown at a parent-teacher conference. I bawled in front of my little girl’s teachers, counselors, and the principal.

Why?

Not because of anything my preschooler or the teachers had done, but because I thought I was dying.

My health had been declining rapidly over the past year. I spent most of my days sleeping, and when I wasn’t asleep, I suffered from chronic pain and depression. My body was covered in bruises and my hair was falling out in clumps.

My doctor had just discovered several lumps in my neck, and I was scheduled for a biopsy the next day. What if it was cancer? What if I was dying? Even though I had been too sick to give my child the attention she deserved, I knew no other woman could love my daughter the way I did. I couldn’t leave my child without a mommy.

I drove myself to the biopsy. My husband was working out of town, and I had no one else to take me. The needles stung my neck, but I endured. I even joked with my doctor while she was stabbing me.

I don’t care if it stings, I thought to myself. I’ll suffer through anything, just please God don’t take me from my child.

I drove myself home from the hospital, crawled into bed and cried. Then I waited for the results. Those were the longest two days of my life.

Much to my relief, it wasn’t cancer. Further testing revealed I had the auto-immune disease, Hashimotos. I began hormone replacement therapy right away and even changed my diet, eliminating certain foods like gluten which triggered the disease. Slowly, I began to feel better, and once again, I was able to be a mommy to my little girl.

Prior to my health scare, I had published a few young adult paranormal novels and was working on a fantasy. After a few years of treatment, I republished my YA series and finished that fantasy. And then my books started selling. I was getting fan letters and actually making enough money to pay the bills, as I continued to write and publish more books. Most of my reader reviews have been amazing. I’m simply floored and humbled by the outpouring of support from my fans.

Of course, I’ve also gotten a few negative reviews. Some of the reviews are so mean, I’m certain I would have cried had I received them prior to my illness. But the thing is, I’ve already hit that low point in my life. And no review, no matter how hateful, can ever bring me lower than the paralyzing fear I had when I thought I’d be parted from my child.

Lately I’ve read a few disheartening stories about authors being bullied by readers and bloggers. It saddens me to see these authors buckle under the negativity. If I could give advice to these authors, it would be this. Focus on what matters: your family, friends and fans.

I guarantee you will hit low points in your life far worse than the humiliation brought on by a few readers who didn’t connect with your books.  If you have the strength to wake up each day and craft stories, then draw from that strength, ignore the haters, and keep writing.

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Author: tarawestauthor

A former Texas high school teacher, Tara enjoyed coaching her writing team and even the hectic deadlines that came with running the school publications. After taking a break to raise her baby girl, Tara now works from home as a cover artist. In her spare time, Tara loves to read, exercise and spend time with her family and friends. She contributes the cover art for her own novels and has designed covers for over 500 other books. She’d love for you to visit her at www.tarawest.com where you can check out her Whispers series and sample her artwork.

18 thoughts on “Ignore the haters and keep writing…

  1. Tara, thanks for sharing your story. A scare like this puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
    Thank you for inspiring us. Keep writing!

  2. love this! Thanks for sharing your incredible story!

  3. What a great story–thank you for sharing it with us! I’m struggling too with having to eliminate certain foods from my diet–it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to do.But reading this, you’ve made me more determined to commit to the elimination, so I will not end up as ill as you did.

    I’m also writing with the hope that it will allow me to pay the bills enough to cut back on the day job. Your story is very encouraging from that standpoint as well. But perhaps the most important part is your comment about negative reviews. There was a time when I would let a mildly lukewarm review stall my writing. These days I have more perspective–not everyone is going to like or get what I am attempting to do. Instead of focusing on the one ‘off-key’ voice in the choir, I need to remember how awesome the rest of the group sounds. 😀

    • Sarah, eliminating certain foods has made so much of a difference, not just in my health but in my daughter’s as well. If foods make you sick, then they are not worth your health. Same thing with negative reviews. 😉

      THIS is the PERFECT way to put it. >> “I need to remember how awesome the rest of the group sounds.”

  4. Great words Tara. I agree completely. No matter what you do or how good you are there will always be naysayers. Frankly, that’s their problem. Great job keeping things in perspective and staying true to yourself.

    Glad your health has improved and that you made it through all that.

  5. Great stuff, Tee-Dub. 🙂

  6. In this day of instant judgment being posted online, people often don’t think about their words and the effect they can have on others. In our family, it’s a new restaurant doing its best to become a success in a small resort town, to say nothing of providing jobs to many local workers. In this day of trip advisor and Amazon, bad reviews are toxic. In the words of Thumper the rabbit, we’d all do well to remember, ” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing, Tara. That is awesome advice 🙂 xxx

  8. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have had so many awful issues in my personal life I stopped sweating reviews ages ago. No two people read the same book and of course not everyone is going to like what I write but if I please the vast majority of the readers who discover me and take a chance on me and become fans then it’s all good. Thank you for this article, Tara!

  9. Great advice. It will be some for hard to utilize until they’ve had their personal “life is too short to worry about this minor stuff” moment. In the grand scheme of things, the words of a stranger on the internet shouldn’t rate highly enough to deter someone from his/her passion.

    • I think you are right about that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ignored that truism. But now I know life is too short to worry about the small stuff. I guess we each need to deal with our own personal demons before reaching that conclusion.

  10. Reblogged this on Fireblade Publishers and commented:
    An inspirational personal account.

  11. Reblogged this on Aneza Lee.

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