Most writers are introverts. No, that doesn't mean we're shy, it just means we work better alone, socializing tires us out, and we always think before we speak. Another trademark for introverts is we do tend to be thin-skinned.




This is a writer's natural sleeping position, with that exact expression


  
 

I have yet to hear anything bad about Marly Jackson but since I've taken a break from updating Fey World on literotica.com, I've been getting many negative comments on my other stories on there. I'd like to say I don't give a fuck, but the truth is, I do. It pisses me off and I start to get worked up, but then after a few minutes, I remember it doesn't matter.

What if it does? How do you know if it does? Well, first off, when you get reviews or feedback ask yourself if the negative reviews contain common criticisms. Then ask yourself if the reviewers have things in common. For example, if you write a romance and negative reviewers strongly prefers sci-fi, you might want to discount their reviews. If they are coming from competing writers...you want to discount them if no other group chimes in with the same opinion.

What if you can't discount them because of who the reviewers are and there are commonalities? Well, you have to apply critical reasoning here. Just what are they saying, and why? In the case of Stephanie Meyer, the comments are here infantile plotting, poor characters, and piss-poor grammar/spelling. Professional critics and everyday readers alike are saying it...she really should think about that.


 
The only valid reason for her ignoring her critics

 

However (I am going to use my literotica stories' comments here as an example) for me, what I get are the same two themes: "your first chapter confused me so you suck" or "you misspelled this/grammar error here." Why do I discount those? Well, for one, on literotica I only post first draft unedited stories. So...yeah, there will be errors. Also, the comment about first chapters not making sense always comes in the novel-length stories, and almost always on stories with the action beginning in media res. When you read a novel in one sitting often the first chapter doesn't make complete sense, but with time, exposition, and character development the pieces fit.

Extrapolating a lesson for yourself; once you see a common theme, ask yourself if the complaints are valid. In general anything that actually insults you or descends into name calling should be ignored, unless more than 5 people use the same insult. Then you have to ask yourself if you really a "fucking idiot."
 


Snooki...you NEED to follow that last piece of advice



 
Now what if the criticism is valid? What if after reading criticism of your work your eyes widen and you can only think "My gods! My hubris has blinded me! Egads, you are right!"? Well, thank the critic nicely and go fix the problem. It's not a big deal. And if the criticism as not valid you just move on and forget it.

The real key here is to develop armor. If you're an introvert you're always going to have a bit of thin skin, but when dealing with "haters" you need to strap on armor. That armor is the knowledge that how people receive your work is not reflection of you as a person. Oh, it seems simple, but it may be the hardest thing to learn.

It is an important tool particularly if you choose to go the traditional publisher route, which means selecting an agent. My next post will walk you through that process but for now I can tell you you'e going to get heaps and heaps of rejection letters. The reason may not always be that your work sucks, and to know this, follow the steps above. If you arrive at the conclusion your work does need improvement, buck it up and fix it.



Like all things this will take practice, flexible sanity, and vices




 
In the mean time remember that your writing is not you. Oh, when we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard it feels like a piece of your soul, and in some ways it is, but you must remember a tenet that will aid you in life as wel as writing: NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO UNDERSTAND YOU. Nope, no, NO! Stop looking! The best love you can hope for is someone who accepts you, and the best reader you can hope for is one who enjoys your work. Your work is separate from you, but like you, no one BUT you will ever truly understand your writing.

Distance yourself. Harden your heart, fix the problems you need to, and once you're done, do what writers do and go punish your liver. That's the cycle until you become a famous author. Then you add another step: destroy another author's ego, and then drink.

Approach criticism logically and you will cut down on the whiplash of emotional response. Remember being a writer is continual dance of logic and emotion. Next time, we'll explore the first battle of these sides post-work in the world of securing an agent. In the meantime, take up meditation and prepare your armor. And if you have o vices, get one. They're great at reducing stress.




Choose your stress relief wisely and remember some hobbies are better served as punishments for others