Thick Skin For Hire

Every writer, particularly published authors, know that the publishing industry requires a thick skin for anyone who dares enter their dominion.

I thought I had a fairly thick skin before I even started querying my first manuscript.

*insert cackle laughter here*

Now, I know I don’t have nearly as thick of skin as I should, but I definitely have grown a few dragon scales to protect my vulnerable side over the last two years.

I think joining a kick-as* critique group has definitely helped. Also following editors and agents blogs/twitter/facebook and reading their responses to people’s queries also has helped.

I received my first round of major revision suggestions from my critique partners this past weekend and have let their thoughts percolate in my brain. I’m so glad I’ve grown thicker skin. Because now, I actually want that kind of advice. I need to know where they got lost in the story, what didn’t work for them, and realize its not that I suck and should give up writing. They are not flaws in my personality and I’ve dared exposed the weak points in my inner psyche. It’s areas of the story and characters in which I need to fix.

Or perhaps we’re thinking of it backwards. It’s not that people need to grow thicker skin, or regenerate thicker bone. It’s that we need to shed the vulnerable self-conscious layer of invisible shields we humans use as a self-defense mechanisms.

Get rid of your insecurities. Get rid of ridiculous thoughts that whatever suggestions others say is a ding in your personality, or interpretation of ‘they don’t like me.’

Shed everything down the most base level, where we can actually improve on the inconsistencies in our writing. That’s when we’ll notice the biggest difference on our writing style/skills.

So throw your skin out the window and let the air rejuvenate your writing. Completely open yourself up to improvement.

All right, manuscript. Get ready for rejuvenation. Dive in!

Taking a Quasi-Break

I decided to take a break from querying my first manuscript to agencies for the rest of the year.  Since most agencies are unofficially closed or partaking in necessary ‘house-cleaning’ duties until the New Year anyway, this is probably the best time to take a break, if I’m ever going to take one.

But I’m hoping that with the start of a new year, agencies (and publishers) will embrace a more accepting sentiment and give a closer eye to us writers who strive to be authors.  But that brings a conundrum to mind: with the constantly changing market, the advancement and popularity of ebooks, and the government discussing placing higher taxes on said ebooks (taxing literacy, I should say), will that force publishers and agencies to be even more selective on new clients (and potentially even current clients)?

Rumors, innuendos, whispers, and interpretations of the publishing industry by the media and the government makes it extremely difficult to answer that question.  All I can hope and pray is that readers’ desire for more great fiction- the incredible stories, compelling characters, and beautiful voices of the authors- will remain vibrant and unquenched, enticing them to buy/support/read more.

But at the end of the day, that would all be icing on the cake.  Because the heart of any cake is the sweet and fluffy center- the knowledge that I love to write.  It makes me feel better.  It makes me feel more like myself.  I feel as though I’m a better wife, better mother, better friend, better woman- better person.  And of all the ‘vices’ in this world, I think writing is a pretty productive one.

Enjoy the New Year everyone.  Keep writing forward.