Today I sent a few chapters from one of my WIPs to a friend for feedback. I usually don't do that, because I'm delightfully paranoid and insecure, but it had to be done at some point.
He mailed me back awhile ago, and while he liked it overall, his email contained some (constructive) criticism. Surprise, surprise, I did not like the criticism, got a little huffy and defensive, and told him so. I mean, it's hard being a writer, isn't it?! Writing takes a lot of work, a lot of brainstorming and thinking and mulling things over. And who was he to criticize me?!
Well, he emailed me back explaining some of his points (which made perfect sense), and at the end of the email, he asked for my address.
Hmmm! Growing suspicious, I emailed back "why?"
And he replied, "So I can send you some diapers, you big baby."
And you know what? That conversation meant more to me than all the praise/validation I've ever gotten. Because I learned something. I learned that if I want to be a writer, or do anything that involves creativity, I need to be ready for criticism. And I should count myself lucky, because not all criticism is going to be constructive and nice. If I'm going to send my stories out there, I need to be ready for the realization that not everyone is going to like my ideas, my characters, and not everyone is going to like me, personally. And I also learned that I have a ways to go. When you buy a book, you don't get a little miniature version of the author to sit on your shoulder and explain to you what they were thinking when they wrote "whatever." Only in the brilliant HP universe can one converse with portraits.
The story ends with me sending a few more chapters to him, and the email he just sent me back, double-checking to make sure "I won't have to buy you any Huggies, will I?"
No, sir. No Huggies for me. I'm a big girl now.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a creative person in possession of several ideas must be in want of a backbone"