Monday, September 5, 2011

Writers (and everyone else) need friends and critics, not trolls

Writers need thick skins. We’re not the only ones of course, but shopping a book around for a publisher is tough, and it’s the rare writer who doesn’t meet with a stack of rejection notices along the way. So until I take the seriously good advice from Catherine Ryan Howard’s delightful and helpful blog, Catherine Caffeinated, and choose the self-publishing route, I’m trying to toughen up.

I’ve learned from the book editors I’ve used for my memoir Love, Complicated, that criticism can be highly constructive. Yet, I still bristle with hurt sometimes when my book or writing is criticized. I’m not sure why since overall, good solid constructive criticism has only served to improve my writing. I’ve had to ask myself why then, do I sometimes lose perspective and get all defensive with some people.

I found the answer this morning when I read a passage in a blog by Michael Hyatt, the Chair of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“You have to distinguish between friends, critics and trolls,”  Hyatt says:

     * Friends love you and are willing to share with you the truth, even if it hurts a little bit.
     * Critics don’t have anything personal against you; they simply disagree with you.
     * Trolls are spoiling for a fight. They attack you because something is wrong with their heart. My best advice is to ignore them. If you engage them, it only strengthens their resolve.

Okay friends and critics, sock it to me if you must. Notice to all trolls: just stay away. And not just when you're talking about my book. I don't need trolls in my life for anything. I'm hard enough on myself. I don't need any help.

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