So today Nathan wrote about the sensitivity of writers. You've probably already read it, so here's my personal take:
I am not, by nature, a sensitive person. My feelings are not often wounded. A large part of this is because I'm fairly oblivious to other people. Yes, I recognize their presence, but it isn't long before I'm blissfully lost in my own thoughts (most of which concern me) while mumbling affirmations ("Yep," "Uh-huh," "Sure") that give the appearance of reciprocal conversation. So when someone looks at me askance or obliquely criticizes me, I scarcely notice, much less care.*
And then there's writing. Like other writers, I am intensely sensitive when it comes to others' criticisms of my
Criticizer: You know, the beginning of this story just didn't grab me.
My Head: That's because you're a flipping moron.
My Mouth: Oh?
Criticizer: Yeah. I think you're spinning your wheels here a little. The story really seems to start on page six.
My Head: Okay, but what about those first five pages? Pretty sweet, eh? Original stuff, huh? Haven't read anything like it, have you? You expect me to just throw it out, after I've reworked those pages thirty times?
My Mouth: I see what you're saying. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
This is where I could spend some time talking about why writers (including me) are hyper-sensitive to criticism of their writing, even when they're not too worried what others think about, say, their clothing, hygiene, or worldview, but I'm not going to because I don't really care why. Some things just are.
I think all writers are like this. The difference is some of us hide it better than others and most of us, after we've internally reacted like a petulant kindergartner**, actually listen to the criticism and do something about it. (And by "do something about it" I'm not referring to retribution against those who would dare criticize us by burning a bag of dog poo on the criticizer's front stoop, or egging their Mazda, or leaving lingerie in the backseat of the guy's 1999 Mazda Millenia, where his wife will find it because his wife cleans the backseat of the Mazda every Sunday, right after she waters the begonias. That's not what I'm talking about.)***
*None of this part is really true, but it sounded kind of good when I wrote it.
**I hate spelling this word.
***On second thought, that part up above where I paint myself with a rather selfish brush, is sometimes true. Sometimes.