The Psychology of the Review
And so, you look at reviews. There are reviews on Amazon, on Barnes & Noble, on Goodreads, on Christianbooks.com. There are reviews on blogs and as Facebook comments. Oh, there IS feedback.
And there’s finally enough feedback for me to feel confident it’s more than my immediate circle of friends and family posting. Strangers have read my book and are happy to share their opinion.
Now, I’m a pretty confident sort. Sometimes, people who know me might even suggest I’m a little TOO confident. But there’s something funny about reviews. The statistics are happy–lots of good reviews and only a handful that are bad or less than enthusiastic. So I ought to be feeling great, right?
Except. When I read the good reviews I feel good. I think to myself how nice it is that the book spoke to someone out there and gave pleasure. Maybe even communicated a message.
Then I read a bad or mediocre review. And even if I’ve just read five good ones in a row, the feeling I get is along the lines of having been caught in a lie by my mom when I was ten. Uh-oh. I’ve been found out. Someone noticed I can’t write and I use too many adverbs and the pacing is slow in places and–well, I don’t pay any attention when they say it’s too Christian. I was ready for that. But the rest–oh, I’m a fraud.
What is up with that?!?
And yet, I think we all feel like this sometimes. We feel like our flaws are big ole zits on the tips of our noses and the only reason someone hasn’t noticed is because they’re distracted by our new hairstyle or sparkly earrings and just give them a moment, they’ll see.
But here’s the thing. We’re all riddled with flaws. My novel has plenty of flaws. I used the word “somehow” over and over and maybe should have used it once. There are some typos. I could have crafted the story better.
Oh, but wait. God works through weakness. Paul was talking about something much more challenging than writing a novel when he wrote 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. But I think it describes what my attitude ought to be.
But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am so very weak. And all too willing to feel as though my weaknesses define me (you know, because I’m weak). But God likes to show off his muscles by using weak things to do some of his best work. I’m just glad he’s using me.