Thick Skin

I’ve heard it time and time again. “Not everyone will agree or even like what you have to say” “That to make a career out of this you must develop a thick skin”.

More often than not you’ll be given criticism that you will probably find offensive. With the advent of the internet and its inherent anonymity this criticism can even become malicious. Many people use this anonymity to create their own online persona. I’m sure many of you have hear the terms “Troll” or “Online Trolling” but for those who haven’t it relates to people who comment on stories/posts/etc. specifically for the purpose of causing havoc. Many times using derogatory and/or inflammatory terms to garner a response from the rest of the online community. All trolls are not constructive, as a matter of fact they are almost always destructive.

I bring this up because as a writer I believe I write the best stories/articles/poems/anecdotes/lyrics etc. And as a photographer all my compositions are vibrant and breathtaking. Most of the time I think the rules just don’t apply to me. I don’t need to have anyone else ever read or view my work because they won’t understand the complexities of something I wrote in the 10th grade that was the single most amazing piece that no one has ever seen. It means writing style is flawless; that I have the keenest eye for composition. That just because I tell myself that if I am the only one who will ever see my work I must be the best. This is not a constructive line of reasoning, the fact is that I am not the best and I will never become the best without real criticism. But how can I be impartial enough to something that I myself have created?

The hard truth is I lack many crucial fundamentals within my writing style that I’ve developed mainly from bad habits and plain old stubbornness. That my “keen” photographic eye sometimes misses the simplistic beauties of the world around me. So how does one garner such responses while staying hidden in the shadows? The fact is you cannot. You must be willing to put yourself out there with the possibility that someone of some stature will think your work is complete trash. You have to go in there knowing you will get knocked down and maybe not want to get back up. So what am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to show the world what I’m made of? First on the list is I must spend the money to learn (and possibly relearn) everything I can about my craft. That means going back to school and learning how to be a solid Journalist. Secondly, it means opening myself up to the world and letting its people (including the online world and all of her Trolls) possibly tear down my best work in the hopes they will build me up stronger than before. I’ll be the first to admit I’m terrified of this plan but at the same time I’m confident that not matter what is said or done I can put on a positive spin, get right back up and ultimately reach my potential as a Journalist.

One comment

  1. Jeszlene says:

    I seek writers I look up to and ask them to critique my work. Often they will give time and proper attention especially if you ask nicely, with a keenness to improve. For every magazine submission, I also ask for the editor’s feedback =) When you build a network of writer friends, they will also offer you unsolicited comments, which is great as long as you are open to constructive criticism. Nice post! =)


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