Well, Just How Sensitive Are You?
The inspiration for this post comes from a blog I read entitled If You Can’t Stand the Sight of Your Own Blood, Don’t Step Into the Ring by Catherine Barb-Maguira as featured on Jane Friedman‘s site. Phew…that was a mouthful, wasn’t it?
So, the crux of the above article is all about rejection, judgement, and being able to stand up and survive after being bombarded with negativity about your work. The author asks “What is wrong with people?” Meaning those who criticize and dump on someone’s work. (My answer, there’s a lot wrong with people… but you can’t own it.)
I think anyone who has been in the writing business for more than ten minutes could be asking the same question.
Sometimes, people just write crap about you and your work because they can. Heck the opportunity is right before them and they dump all their rhetoric all over your real estate. Should you be offended?
Meh, is it someone you know? Is there a general consensus? Is he right? Is it your mom or brother smothering you in negativity? Thick skin, I guess, could be helpful in shrugging off the negative comments, but you also need to ask yourself why you’re reading them?
Do You Really Need a Skin as Thick as Leather in Order to be a Writer
This need for a thick skin, is the mean peoples’ way of saying, suck it up buttercup. Stop your whining and get on with your day.
The whole thing gets me because hell, I often feel like I need a thick skin just to survive watching the six o’clock news. So you know what I did? I stopped watching.
We, as writers, have a tendency to get attached to our little word babies and that’s really where it can get ugly.
If someone’s gonna call my wee babe bloated, pompous, or infantile–well, I’ll probably fight back and say, Yeah…well, maybe it is, but at least I wrote something. And then go cry in my room with a hoard of chocolate and bacon. (Hey, variety is a good thing, right?)
Okay, so you’re book baby is disgustingly deformed, BUT the good news is that said baby can go through a metamorphosis and become desirable and popular. (I feel like I’m on a Disney Set right now)….
It is one opinion–that’s all it is. Not a very nice one, mind you, but you have the power to change it.
Get a good moisturizer–whatever that may be for you–and use it to keep yourself true to your craft and your self. Having thick, leathery skin isn’t the best in that you’ll deflect everything and perhaps miss that one helpful morsel that could’ve made a difference.
So keep subtle. Ready to deflect or let it all go, but smart enough to know that you can still learn and grow.
Never ever forget WHO has the power.
Perhaps Chaps Would be Smart
It’s clear. Not everyone will like what you do.
You’re going to get knocked around, and perhaps even a bit bloodied in the field, but that’s okay.
Tell yourself that the reader who made those remarks is more vanilla than chocolate… More tomato than chili-pepper… More ketchup than hot sauce…
The reality is, that we all like different things.
You don’t want to dawn an entire shield of leather, but some chaps hung just so will offer a bit of protection when, or if, the rocks start flying.
Don’t give up you entire self in order to please anyone. It’s important to remain true to yourself and your direction.
Get Yourself Out of the Rut
What I find with people who are critical of others works, is that they’re stuck. Mired in sameness. Rules and walls. Everyone needs to step past that shit every once in a while.
My question goes to the writer of such critical, horrid words, and it’s this: Why didn’t you put it down and walk away? Do you read the same thing all the time? Who’s the boring one?
My work is often described as melodramatic or over the top…. Yeah, well, so am I. Lol.
It’s the way I write, but for some it apparently offends or slides off a scale of tastefulness.
It’s easy to tone down and I usually comply unless I have a good reason not to.
It’s fun and I like to write that way.
Too many are stuck with their noses up, ready to sniff out a grammatical error, or an industry standard, of sorts. Perhaps they’re stuck in a genre and afraid to venture further.
That’s not healthy.
Literary Vs. Contemporary Literature.
The chasm is ever widening.
I’m sorry, but I seriously don’t want to read for five minutes as to how someones hair hangs in a perfect curtain across the main characters face to mask the anguish.
I don’t care. BUT, I will admit, others do want that. Why? I don’t know.
I want the fast paced, dramatic, always something happening, sort of read. Yeah. That gets my heart pumping and keeps me turning pages.
Some don’t like that as they may see it as too raw, unkempt, and dare I say not literary.
The two can get in the ring and duke it out, but I’m not going to show up because I don’t really care.
Writing and Reading is All About Choice.
You get to decide.
Even YOU as a writer can decide whether you read the mean crap people say about your work.
Don your chaps before you read because I’m sure you’re in for a ride!
Remember, who has the power….
One Word. One nod. One Person.
You will run into a lot of people who don’t like your work.
But like anything else you must seek out your own people–those that understand and support you.
You must find the one person who recognizes the genius in you and your ability to create.
All it takes is one.
Yes. Imagine…Just one!
You simply need to find it, and you find it by constantly honing your craft and building your community. Be you and only you.
Give yourself the nod to be who you are and what you want. You don’t need permission to create.
No one needs to stroke your ego. You need to learn to love it yourself to a point of believing.
Who holds all the power?
So forget about the thick skin… If it’s all roughed up go put on some moisturizer and start to believe.
This is your gig. Not the critics.
All the best. You got this.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed. Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Follow below.