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February 20, 2013
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Is Your Skin Too Thin?

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:56 AM
A lot of writers on this site fantasize about having a book published someday. But even if you don't, pretty much everyone still posts for an audience, even going so far as to hope for honest feedback.

Hell, who doesn't like improving?

If you are honestly truly really, after much introspection, writing only for yourself and not particularly interested in critical feedback, I would skip this. There's no point.

Here's the thing: improving depends on having some thick skin. How do you know if you're there? Read on below.



Self-Assessment



Please imagine these comments directed at you, most likely in an email (though hopefully not the same email), about your favorite and most polished work ever, the one that you'd like to see on the front page of the New Yorker or with a prologue by Neil Gaiman or something. IDK man. Poets, fill in whatever you need here.

  • Your work is too long and boring.
  • This is absurd and uninteresting.
  • This is not funny.
  • Not for us, thanks.
  • This won't sell.
  • The language is too difficult.
  • I really wish this had a different ending.
  • This would be better without the title character.
  • The concept sounded interesting, but this failed to hook me.


IF even a single one of these would make you feel bad for longer than five minutes, or if you'd honestly stop writing or dump the whole story and never come back to it because of a comment like this, your skin is too thin.


Many things were rephrased to make them more universally applicable, but the point is that even though you're likely to just get a polite and 100% generic response (thanks, it's not for us at this time, please keep submitting), this totally happens in the real world and either you deal with it or GTFO because you're not ready for the deep end of the pool.


(I should mention that 'dealing with it' doesn't just mean moving on, it might also mean being like 'oh shit they're right' and editing or even rewriting the damn thing.)



Sources:


HOW DO I GROW A THICKER SKIN????


Dude, I got no fuckin' idea. The process probably differs from person to person. For myself…baby, I was born this way.


Since I can't keep my trap shut, though, here are some ideas, many of which just boil down to 'real world is real.' Also, I probably didn't phrase these very nicely, which is fine 'cause I'm not a very nice person. Feel free to suggest things that've worked for you and I'll swap this section out.




Anyway, the thing about any art form is that it doesn't have to be held to any standards but those of your audience.

So, please answer this: Whom are you writing for?


Some thoughts on writing, taking criticism, and that thing we like to call "the real world." These probably apply outside of writing, too, but I don't do much there so I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about. Also, the publishing industry is a lot more consolidated: there's no single place artists turn when they want to be in print.

Most rejections are really just polite form responses (which of course people get depressed about too), here is a place you can see what they look like: [link] and for historical interest [link]

^Beccalicious suggested the discussion question. Thank you Becca.
Original journal skin: [link]
GIFs pulled from ^pica-ae's Tumblr. :love: Honestly though I didn't like Thor's redesigned costume at all.

:new: `raspil linked this blog on resilience, criticism & rejection to me a while ago. Forgot about it until just now, but here you go.
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:iconloona-cry:
Loona-Cry Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent article and definitely something everyone should keep in mind, including professionals. :)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks :D
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:iconchristalkitto:
ChristalKitto Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I think my first piece of constructive criticism came from you. I let the piece set for awhile and then when I came back to it I could see what you were talking about. Its gone through to rewrites or further expansion. Since yours I have found in a sadistic way to enjoy seeing others tear a story a new one. The end result is normally 10x better than the original.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome :w00t:

Hahahahaha, it is fun.
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:iconkaizokushojo:
KaizokuShojo Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013   Traditional Artist
I like the bit about possibly even needing to rewrite. Some people get so hung up on "oh I like it how it is" when it actually DOES need a rewrite that works don't improve and trash ends up circulating. XD
I remember in about 2002/2003 or so, I put a work up and someone said, "This character is a mary-sue" and explained it a little bit--they didn't even have to go into detail. I was annoyed for about one minute before I was like, "Snap, they're honestly right," and I took that idiotic sucker right off the internet. And I was all the better for it, learning from my mistake. =P
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod: Seriously, there are times when you have to just suck it up and say 'I love this and it's not gonna work.'

Ooooh, nice!
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:icontortilladelpeligro:
TortillaDelPeligro Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them." ~Immanuel Kant

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." ~Vince Lombardi

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice quotes! I think the last one is my favorite. :nod:
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:iconhurricaneclaw:
Hurricaneclaw Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice, love it~ Why am I writing? For fun. :la: And it's not fun if I don't improve, ya know.

I'm weird and kinda pathetic with that now that I think about it. I love giving and getting critiques, but I'm horrible at applying them to my work in the long-term. Plus, on some rare days I can't handle criticism at all, especially if it's said right to my face, which is more annoying than anything. I gotta work on my poker face:saddummy:
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:highfive: seriously, stagnating is lame.

P-p-p-poker faaace! Also it could just be a matter of being like 'okay this is not a good day for criticism' and then saving it for later. Which granted you can't do so much with face to face.
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