My manuscript has been e-mailed to a handful of my friends so I can get some good feedback from them. I cringe to think of some things they will say. Honesty, however, is the best policy especially when it comes to art. That being said it is also still very nerve wracking simply because it is like I am sending out a piece of myself with them. It is hard to separate myself from my writing because those are characters I spend lots of time with (arguably more time than with anyone else) and get to know better than most anyone else I know. And it is a story that I firmly believe in and that I treasure because it is full of potential.
I remember when my skin was not so thick when it came to critique. When I was younger (junior high to sophomore in high school) I had a friend who I shared art and stories with. We would trade fan fiction short stories and drawings of them along with notes. This friend became not only a really good friend but, in some ways, my art guru. I was learning and I was obsessed with getting better at the craft. Sometimes I would get notes from my friend that weren't the nicest. She is the type that tells it like it is and it was hard for me to stomach that at first. At the time I hated it, but now I appreciate it. She prepared me for the even tougher skin I would have to develop later on.
Once I got to college I tried to be an art major. One of my teachers ripped my pieces apart. I only had one art piece that he even remotely liked. All of the others he would tear down with words that stung. Art became not so fun anymore. It became drudgery and work. I didn't like that.
Writing, on the other hand, is a completely different story for me. I love getting hardcore critiques. Rip my stuff apart; I say BRING IT ON! The only way for my writing to get better is if people tell me what is not working for them as a reader. During my time as an undergrad I had to develop a separation, a thicker skin, when it came to my writing. Otherwise, I would go insane and be so depressed and down on myself for sucking it up. When it comes to writing I don't like the pacifist route. Hit me with your best shot. This thick skin I've developed can take it.
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