Knowing what to accept and reject


I usually advise  new writers to grow a thick skin. We’re talking rhino skin. We’re talking skin thick as the Earth’s crust. That’s because editors and people in critique groups  will make dents in that skin when editing your writing.

We need to be a good listener and hear their suggestions. They may have a point about problems in your story. That’s because they are reading it as readers. It is painfully true we can sometimes get too close to our work to see beyond our keyboards.

It is an editor’s job to make your writing better and people in critique groups only want to help (good people that is.) Be open minded about work. I remember a woman asked me to read and comment on one of her stories. It was good but I had some suggestions to improve it. She got so mad she never talked to me again. Her writing skin turned out to be thin as rice paper.

That said, we must also learn when to reject, politely, criticism with which you totally disagree. You know your writing best and if there is something you believe is necessary to the piece, then stick with it and be prepared to defend it to editors or critiquers. You might have to compromise but usually they will understand and let it stand.

Be willing to listen to advice on how your writing can be improved. Don’t get insulted. Don’t get mad. Be professional.

Realize that not every word we write is gold, but those words might polished into shining brightly nevertheless.

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Filed under Archives 2016, Writing

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