Friday, April 19, 2013

The Blog Chain - The Thick Skin of a Writer or How not to Sculp an Ashtray

The Blog Chain topic this week is:

Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?

Any writer knows: Writing is editing. It’s very difficult to be a writer if you’re unable to handle critiques. It isn’t always easy. There may be a part of your story that you absolutely love, but no one else seems to. Writing is a fluid process. You can’t plop a lump of clay down on the table and call it art, unless of course you’re a postmodernist. J You have to be able to mold your plot and characters. And that’s where critiquing comes in.

It’s always a little strange to have someone tell you what’s not working with something you’ve poured your heart and soul in to. At the same time, you need an outsider to look at it objectively (or as objectively as a human can). When my editor gives me notes, 95% of the time I think, “Why didn’t I see that?” or “Yes. I understand now!”

I love revising. Taking the lump of clay metaphor a bit further, it’s like working at home on molding that clay and it somehow ends up an ashtray…or maybe a really nice paperweight. That’s fine and dandy, but not spectacular. Then someone comes in, takes a look, points out the flaws and all of a sudden it snaps in to place. A pinch here, a tuck there and all of a sudden you have sculpture. It becomes better than “just really nice.” It becomes art.

That’s my take…now I feel like I should take some ceramics classes. What about you? How do you deal with critiques?
Keep following this topic on the chain and check out Michelle’s blog on Monday, or look back at Katrina's post from yesterday.


  1. EXCELLENT post. :)

  2. I do have thick skin. I've been in my critique group almost two years now. With three published authors and a professional copy editor in my group, I pretty much had to grow it or step aside and let someone else join the group. :)

    Great post, and wonderful reminder that writing a story is very much like sculpting.

  3. "It becomes better than 'just really nice.' It becomes art."

    Love this! That lump of clay metaphor resonates with me, too.

  4. I don't normally like editing because I usually spend a good deal of time on plotting before I even write the first draft and by the time I'm done with it all, I'm ready to move on. I DO, however, really like objective feedback (it's just the applying it part that's not as much fun). I'm working on my first agent edits now and I'm actually really enjoying myself this time around. It's wonderful to see the story taking a much stronger shape and turning into something I'm really excited about.

  5. I guess I'm kind of neutral to the whole editing/revision process. I do have a thick skin.

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  7. Having a thick skin is an absolute requirement in the writing field.

    And it looks like you've got a spammer. At least this nitwit doesn't hide behind the anonymous label.

    1. I know, it's so weird...I guess I have to figure out how to block people :(

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