As writers we need to develop a thick skin or allow unkind comments to be ‘water’ off a duck’s back – such is today’s word – Caustic – definition: 1) capable of eating away by chemical action : corrosive 2) likely to offend or hurt someone’s feelings.
Submitting our creations to agent’s and publisher’s is daunting enough without the numerous rejection letters we receive back. Some bounce back via email almost immediately, stunning us at the quick reaction but other’s remain in a void for many months. These are possibly harder to cope with as our eternal optimism believes the delay in replying is a positive thing. We imagine our manuscript being read by increasingly important staff on the corporate ladders of the publishing firm. Eventually landing on the CEO’s desk where our creation is read with reverence and pleasure prior to the acceptance letter being dictated and sent out.
We can be deterred by a rejection and stomp around berating the said publishing house for not realizing its potential or we can learn from the experience. This second choice is the hardest and there is no reason why a good stomp can’t be enjoyed first! If we are fortunate enough to actually get comments written on a rejection letter or slip, we must treasure them. If the writing, concept or plot is truly bad there are no comments just a form letter. However, comments mean the manuscript was seen to have merits but needed work in some way or another. Take heed of these gems and revise to incorporate them. A newly revised submission may get accepted because of them.
My writing group is very conscious of and encourages, kind but constructive critique offered with compassion. To be blasted with unkind words or forced to write in a certain way, has a detrimental effect on another person’s writing and emotions. Be kind to those people who ask for your opinion and offer your honest critique without self interest or bias. There are as many styles of writing as there are writers so be open to the differences – you may learn something about your style through the interaction.
We may need a thick skin but there are ways of surviving without one.
Do you have an experience – good or bad – you could share?