If you’re horrible with being rejected and feel utterly destroyed when you get criticism, writing will be hard. Here’s how to have thick skin.
Writing isn’t like other careers. In most jobs, you get hired and are good to go. When you’re a writer, you have tons of people ready to talk your ear off about their opinions of your book. And not all of them are nice. At all. That’s why you have to have thick skin.
You can’t allow one comment about how someone didn’t like a particular scene to eat away at you. If you do that, you’ll never improve and you’ll never finish your book or write another.
Why You Need Thick Skin
Truthfully, you do need thick skin. And if you don’t have it, then you need to start working on that. As a writer, there will never be a 100% success rate with your book. Not everyone is going to like your story or like the way you told it. For fuck’s sake, not everyone even likes Harry Potter. Do you think J.K. Rowling gives a shit about those people? No. She was rejected plenty of times before someone even published Harry Potter.
You need thick skin so you can take in the criticism you receive and put it to good use. If you don’t have thick skin, you’ll allow every little comment to eat away at your flesh until there’s nothing left for you to give.
How to Have Thick Skin as a Writer
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Having thick skin takes a lot of time to build if you don’t have it naturally. Remembering these things will help you realize that you don’t have to take every little piece of feedback to heart.
1. Not everyone is going to like it.
This is just the reality of being a writer. Not everyone will like your book. Not everyone even likes the genre in which you’re writing. And that’s okay. You’re not writing for the people who will dislike your book. You’re writing for those who will. You can’t expect every single person who reads your book to enjoy it or understand the deeper meanings of it. Let those people dislike it because it just opens the gateway for others to admire it.
2. You can’t please everyone.
Get this shit through your mind. You will never be able to make everyone happy. For every five people who love your steamy, make out scene, there will be someone to shut it down as “too much” or “boring” because it’s not a fight scene or something. Remember this. Breath it in and don’t ever forget it because if you try to please everyone when writing your book, it will be utter shit.
3. Know that people don’t mean to hurt you.
If you’re actively seeking critiques and feedback, then you have to realize that the people are trying to help you, not hurt you. This is where a thick skin will be the most beneficial. People are going to be honest with you if you ask for it and you need to be prepared to hear them out so you can improve your writing. Unless someone is being an ass hat and just hitting you with, “this is boring,” or “the writing is garbage,” you can safely assume everyone else is trying to help. And if you are getting those comments that aren’t helpful and just mean, stop talking to that dick. You don’t need that.
4. Don’t hang onto one comment or review or critique for too long.
I think the one thing I personally struggle with the most is hanging onto a negative comment for too long. I take one little thing someone said and dissect it until it nearly obliterates my writing confidence. Some things you just have to fix and then move on from. Let that shit go.
5. Get the facts.
If someone is criticizing your book and giving it negative feedback, figure out why. Ask them details so you can understand why it is they didn’t like a particular scene. It might not be easy to hear, but it’s necessary if you want to learn and grow as a writer. But keep in mind that not everyone will have a valid reason for disliking something and the large majority can enjoy a particular scene while one person hates it.
Having thick skin as a writer is a bitch. It’s hard. You have to learn how to take hit after hit so you can become a better, stronger writer. Don’t let criticism destroy your writing. Instead, let it make it better.