Why Thick Skin is Important in Writing #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

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Harper Lee Quote on Writing

This month, I want to talk about the thick skin we must develop as writers. When I began the honest journey eleven years ago, I had no clue what I was getting into. I knew I loved the story. I knew I loved characters and writing worlds I could lose myself in. I had no idea writing could be more scientific than any formula I’d studied in chemistry class.

I had no idea what the industry would be like in the submission process to agents and how many times you might never receive the courtesy of a rejection note—just a simple deadline to mark on your calendar. If that date passes and you’ve heard no word, consider your submission a rejection.

It’s tough to swallow no words.

So what do you do to tackle growth and thick skin?

My advice?

  1. Attend Active Writing Workshops
    Not just theory based workshops and what the industry sees as working, but workshops where you’re given assignments, you start them and debrief with groups of other writers or professionals. Workshops with teachers in the industry like agents and editors who require initial work and give you feedback. Maybe where you’re involved with feedback too. It’s important to take in all the professional feedback you can. When I get work back, I always take a couple of days to ponder others’ thoughts. I ask myself, could they be right? I’ve found that after careful pondering, there is a great deal of truth to what they’ve commented on.
    • I love Writer’s Digest by the way. I’ve learned a great deal in query letter writing, first sentences and first 10 pages that matter.
    • Seek helpful feedback from readers and teachers who read what you write.
  2. Research your Readers 
    I think one important aspect of thick skin and showing others our work is to make sure they’re interested in a topic and also a certain voice.  If a reader isn’t interested in the world you’ve created, their comments won’t be as helpful as you probably need.
  3. Prepare Yourself for Opportunities to Grow and Learn  
    Follow your favorite writers on Instagram, Blogs, or Facebook. When I wrote my first draft of my first novel, I was so proud of myself. I wasn’t aware of what I had to learn in the craft so others would see my work as good as it was to me. I follow Maggie Stiefvater, one of my first Young Adult favorite authors. Her blog is quite extensive with topics and personal accounts. She wants to help. From what I’ve read, she has realistically shares everything she knows.
  4. Study the Craft of Writing in Your Genre
    Take writing classes, hire a writing coach, submit to editors interested in your genre and voice. I’ll write more next time about my writing coach. She’s changed my writing world.
  5. READ.
    Read the competition you wish to pursue. Read the comments on the books and what people love about them.

In sum, thick skin is important. It allows others who want to help you have the courage to do so in confidence. It allows you to grow into the writer you wish and dream to be. Finally, having a thick skin prepares you for the other words of advice you may receive from those anonymous folk who just want to say a word because they don’t know your face.  It’s taken me years. I have my armor. I also know when it’s a good time to set it aside and be the real me. 🙂

Happy Hop Day 🙂

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on February 19, 2020, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I can add DON’T fret over unfair reviews – there will always be someone who fails to understand your book, but DO be encouraged by good reviews 🙂

  2. Good point about others wanting to help you. If they feel they have to walk on eggshells around you, then you’ll get no help!

  3. Great post. Thick skin is a must in this industry. TY for posting such a great blog post!

  4. Good advice, Erika. That one–research your readers. I often–when I get a bad review–click the reviewers link to see who they are. Many times, that person doesn’t like anything they review, it’s not just me. Somehow that is comforting.

  5. One thing I learned recently is it can’t be the only source of self-esteem. Go out of your way to find things to build you up. The cup will overflow even when crits are tough.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  6. I do get it about the reviews… But I guess it’s important to remember that not everyone’s taste and understanding is the same. It is impossible to please everyone.

  7. What great advice. Fortunately, I was in the retail business before getting serious with a writing career. When one works for the public, one has to develop thick skin. I remember a fellow business owner told me you can have 100 customers and 99 of them will be complimentary, but it’s that one with a problem that you’ll remember. You can’t please everyone whether in retail business or in writing books.
    JQ Rose

  8. This is all so TRUE! WOW… yes, THICK SKIN! Why couldn’t someone have mentioned this to me years ago? Hahahaha! I certainly know it now and this is a GREAT post and solid reminder! Thank you Erika!

  9. It really is so important to thicken one’s skin! Rejections are painful, and the temptation to give in to them and despair is real! I like these practical tips and can definitely use these. I think it can be good too to reflect on the benefits writing gives us apart from publication – the creative outlet, the personal reflection, the creation of something beautiful: we have these things even while we push forward trying to get our words out there to readers. Thanks for the advice, and best wishes to you!

  10. No words is tough to swallow! I now have a tougher skin, for sure, as compared to when I first started, but boy did it take some tears to get here. Great post, Erika!

  11. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    Great advice!

  12. Great advice. I think one of the reasons I’m so reluctant to share work is that I’m worried I don’t have the necessary density yet.

  13. great advice! a thick skin is very important with all the rejection darts and some of the inevitable negative reviews… that’s a writer’s life.
    and thanks for mentioning me at alex’s place!

  14. Having tough skin is definitely a good idea. Once you survive the querying/publishing process, there are reviews and sales numbers to deal with. Best to focus on the joy of the process and working toward making each book better.

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