I must be a masochist. Truly, because twenty years ago I chose a field to go into that paid poorly, had a bad reputation, and promised daily criticism from parents, principals, and peers. Yes, twenty years ago I became a teacher, and have loved practically every minute of it! But who else other than a masochist would subject themselves to this kind of daily abuse?
Ohhh… a writer! Darn it. I did it again! I chose another field to go into that could be as potentially abusive as teaching. I must be nuts. No, just passionate about what I do. But the parallels are stunning. I’m passionate about teaching kids and nurturing their souls. I’m passionate about writing and learning all I can about the business and the craft. I give constructive criticism when I conference with each student. I get criticism from everyone who reads my work. Some kids can’t handle it as well as others, and I must treat them just a bit differently. And that’s where the likeness ends, because criticism in this field is handed out generously, with little or no regard for who’s receiving it. So we must grow tough shells in order to withstand the potential flogging.
I’ve got my armor in place. How about you? I stand tall and fearless against the Mighty Rejection Letter! I’ll just query another, I say. But what about when my books do get sold? I must steel myself against the lashing from the Mighty Red Pen of the editor! Yes, I can change that, sure no problem. And then… it’s the Mighty Fearsome Critics! Thick skin, thick skin, Deena. Okay, show me the reviews. I have installed bullet-proof eyes. Lukewarm reviews will bounce right off of me.
Who am I kidding? As a teacher, and a writer, I put my character on the judge’s stand everyday. I bare my soul and heart everyday, leaving them open to ridicule. No armor, no shield is completely impervious to the sting.
BUT, to be honest here, as a teacher, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful reputation, and as such, have received very few wounds over the years. As a writer, it remains to be seen. All I can do is write from the heart, use my skills to make my work polished, and pray that what I have to say connects with other’s souls in the best way possible.
As for criticism, I love it! Bring it on! Show me where I need to grow, tell me where I shine! And then I’ll be the best damned writer I can be.
For another article on becoming a writer: http://radioactivecats.blogspot.com/2010/08/oh-wow-i-grew-up-to-be-writer-artist.html