I have a friend who is a great writer. She’s quite inspiring to me because she actually works on her writing, unlike me, who thinks about writing, talks about writing, reads about writing, helps others with their writing… you get the picture. Not only does she have the tenacity to sink her teeth into her work, she’s also quite good at it. Her characters come alive. She builds a believable world. Dialogue flows. Ideas are original. She’s funny. What my friend doesn’t have though, is confidence. It’s crazy to me! I can stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and read from a work in progress just to see what reaction I get and have fun doing it. My friend, on the other hand, not only won’t read, but barely shares her (awesome) work. I just want to shake her! Ok. I know she’s reading this (yes, you!).
Here’s my advice to her and other writers who are testing the query and submission waters: I won’t tell you not to listen to agents or other people who aren’t kind. I’ll say listen to them, pretending that they are kind, and see if what they are saying has any merit. If so, in your mind you can give them the finger when you thank the bitch for sharing. If not, forget about them. They’re not worth your time. Now get back to work!
What about you? Do you allow yourself to benefit from criticism even when it’s barked at you with fangs bared? Or does it have to come with flowers and ribbons attached?