Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy?

image courtesy of photobucket.com
I’m a wimp.

A cream puff.

A marshmallow.

I’m so not cut out to be a writer.

I’m anaphylactically allergic to criticism. And this doesn’t apply only to my writing life. This is just who I am. I have the type of personality that always wants to be right. Not in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” way but in the “I’ll die of humiliation if I answer the question wrong so I’m not going to raise my hand, even though I know the answer” way.

The upside to being paranoid about making mistakes is that it has made me into a very conscientious person. If you ask me to do something, I’ll do it. And then I’ll go over it 100 times to be sure it’s right. And then I’ll call you a few days later to see if it met your expectations.

Again. I shouldn’t be writing.

Because all writing requires some form of criticism.

And, criticism + Lynn = hyperventilation.

Each time I send a writing sample off to someone, whether it’s for an assignment, or a guest blog, or because they asked to read a few chapters of my book, it just about kills me.

OK. I’ll admit that I’m a teensy bit prone to exaggeration.

But the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, upset stomach. Aren’t those symptoms of dreadful things — like heart attacks?

So what’s a would-be writer to do? When all the traditional advice says that she must develop a thick skin if she’s going to survive but when the transformation from thin to thick-skinned would require a personality transplant?

I tend to assume that thick-skinned people send off their work and don’t worry about it. They don’t spend time refreshing their email in case someone has commented on their blog and their hands don’t shake when they open up an email that will tell them whether their work has been accepted for publication. They certainly don’t lose sleep over what some anonymous person said about their book in an Amazon review.

But maybe — just maybe — that isn’t the case at all.

Maybe the thick-skinned person isn’t the person who stands tall and lets the waves of criticism roll by.

Maybe the thick-skinned person is the one the waves of criticism throw to the ocean floor and keep them submerged so long they begin to wonder if they’ll ever surface.

But when they are finally able to catch their breath, they don’t run for the shore.

They stand up.

And let the waves do it all over again.


Anonymous said...

I so get this. Someone recently came to my husband about something I had written, and they weren't being positive, AND they took a blog that was supposed to be humorous and took it the wrong way...needless to say, I walked around paranoid and annoyed for a few days...

Trying not to run for that shore...


Lynn Huggins Blackburn said...

Oh Kim - I'm sorry that happened, but as someone who LOVES your blog, I'm glad you're staying out in the surf. :-)

Anonymous said...

thanks, Lynn! Let's stay out in the surf together...more fun that way! I love your blog, and I'm so glad you're writing...not so wimpy if you ask me! :)