This week's Friday Friend is Dr. Lydia Kang's blog, The Word is my Oyster. Dr. Kang's post of May 26, 2010, titled A Scientist's View of a Writer's Thick Skin, is what prompted me to click the "follow" button on her blog a couple of months ago. I've been reading each of her posts since.
Looking at Dr. Kang's illustration, which end of the dermatological spectrum are you on: "bleeds and cries easily" or "nothing gets through this sucker?"
Medical analyses aside, the truth is that many of us who want to be writers are of a sensitive nature. Somehow that doesn't seem incongruous; it takes a sensitive nature to pay attention to so many details of life and existence and to then want to communicate those observations back to the world in emotionally and intellectually pleasing and instructive vignettes of self-expression. OK, it's great that we're sensitive. But don't let that same luxurious sensitivity that compels you to want to be a writer grow horns and compel you to not want to be a writer. Let me explain. When you first get serious about writing (yes, at the beginning, that most fragile, vulnerable point in any enterprise including careers, marriages and friendships), you'll beat yourself up for the slop that you see yourself putting on paper. Day after day, draft after draft, you'll work to a point where the slop looks acceptable enough to you so you'll share it with others for critique. You'll graduate from local critiques, you'll expand the distribution of your writing. And then: agents and publishers will reject you; the self-appointed "best and brightest" in various writers' cliques will treat you like an inconsequential upstart; cyber-bullies will grow their own sense of self-worth by belittling your work in an assortment of forums.
As in life, so in writing; distill the truth from the venom.
The venom: ignore.
The truth: use it to become a better writer.
Most of all: keep writing. Use the years and your own hard work to get better and better. You'll get there! :)
Writers' sensitivities: a gift or a curse? Each of us answers that question by how well she or he manages and channels those sensitivities.
Earlier in this post, I asked you for self-disclosure regarding sensitivities. It's not fair if I don't reciprocate with equal disclosure. Looking at Lydia's illustration, I must admit that I'm closer to "bleeds and cries easily" than to "nothing gets through this sucker?" Oh, well. At least I have the gift of being able to fall in love deeply :).
Happy weekend, everyone!