The writing industry isn’t for the faint of heart. It has a lot of rejection, a lot of pain, and a lot of perseverance, but yet, so many of us want to push through. Our books are our soul babies, words which we pour onto the page from our hearts. We put all our work and sweat and effort into it. It’s not surprising that it’s a very personal and sensitive, especially to rejection and criticism.
- Don’t always expect the best outcome.
You know the saying “if you don’t have expectations, you can’t get disappointed”? That
applies here too, but to an extent. When you hand over your baby for criticism and feedback, don’t expect all sunshine and flowers. Instead, you might receiver burning coals and hellfire, but that’s okay.
2. Keep an open mind.
Our first instinct as humans is to run away from the crossfire, but I urge to you stop and endure it for a moment. Keep an open mind to criticism because it genuinely can improve your writing and story. Don’t swear off critics before you read them.
3. Don’t take all the feedback.
Just cause you should keep an open mind doesn’t mean that you should take everything. At the end of the day, it’s your work, and you know what you want to do with them. If something just doesn’t feel right to you, just disregard it and look for something else to fix.
4. Remind yourself that you’re growing.
The best way to get thick skin is to think in the future, seeing the present as a launching pad for growth. We as humans and writers never stop growing, so I think it’s important we think forward. Each failure, rejection, bad comment, means you’re one less step away from reaching your dream.
5. Rejection is not the end of the world
Rejection isn’t the end of the world…it’s just someone, whether is be an agent or a friend, not finding your book suitable for your tastes. Always remember…J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before she landed her perfect book deal. Persistence is the key, and your ideal agent/publisher is out there.
6. Realize no one will love your book as much as you do.
You put everything into this book, as much as a mother loves a child. Readers will adore your work, but not as much as you, and that’s okay. You have to fight for the chance for your book to be on the front shelves. You have to prove yourself worthy.
7. Don’t take things personally.
They’re not attacking you, they’re being honest in their opinion or saying the books not they’re vibe and that’s okay! Don’t get offended by it, but look at it objectively. What can I take with me and what should I leave behind? It’s not at you, so take a deep breath and take them like a champ.
My Personal Journey.
After being dedicated to writing for about eight years, I’ve learned a lot about criticism, and I’ve heard boat loads of it. There were times were I didn’t even want to keep going because how bad it was, yet, I did, and I improves.
My thick skin journey started about four years ago on Wattpad, where I first uploaded a fanfiction. I’d written original novels before, but didn’t have the courage or the trust to upload it. I thought writing a fanfiction would be a great way to build my platform. I gained over ten thousand reads, and right now, it sits at 55k.
That sounds all great, but when I did post my original work, none of my readers from the fanfiction wanted to read it. That platform I’d worked so hard to create didn’t show up when I needed it to, and it really broke my heart.
I persisted with that draft, fishing for readers but never catching them. Then, a forner critical fanfiction reader decided to give my book a chance.
The first comment? You need to change a lot.
She went on about my characters, how generic my plot was…completely ruthless. It was a rude awakening that really made me realize the flaws in my work. I didn’t take it very well, but I kept going back to her for advice. I edited and revised until it fit her criterion, but she still didn’t like it. At that point, we stopped talking, but she left me with invaluable advice: a link to a post about getting thick skin.
I decided to join a Wattpad book club. After more and more failure I began to get discouraged, so I took a break. Reading, studying, all while improving my writing.
When I came back to writing, I had changed the title and the whole premise of the book. Then, I entered the wonderful Rebel BC book club, where adults gave advice on books. I got to read great writing while getting proper constructive criticism. Obviously, they weren’t all positive, and I still wasn’t satisfied with my work, so I took another break and incorporated all their critique, but I fell out of love with the story. I took another short break, and one day, it hit me. An idea.
I changed the original story at first, but as I thought and thought it madly evolved into the story it is now…Of Suns and Spirits.
I reentered Rebel Book Club and now, the comments are lovely. Getting thick skin, realizing my story and writing style needed change, helped me improve in a matter of six months. Now, Of Suns and Spirits as 7.5k views on Wattpad and 1.2k likes, and it’s completed. While there are still a lot of things to fix. My thick skin helps me power through criticism and see the gold, with which I can improve myself.
I think that’s what we all have to realize. Getting thick skin is a long and painful process filled with self-doubt, writer’s block, and bad reactions. I solemly believe that if you keep trying, you’ll get there one day.