Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Develop a Thick Skin

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

Remember how I talked about abandoning your dignity?

Well, developing an ultra thick rhino-like skin goes hand in hand with this. If you're going to take risks, you've got to be ready to fail. Completely.

And not only fail, but fail with an audience! You need to be willing to share your work with others and listen to their feedback. Even if it's something hard to hear like, "This made me laugh. Not because it was funny, but because it was just so incredibly horrible." 

Not everyone is going to get your humor. Not everyone will laugh at your jokes. There may be awkward silences from your audience or readers as they try to figure out what is wrong with your brain.

Oh well.

Deal with it.

Move on.

Write some more.

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If you really want to be good at this funny writing thing or just writing in general, you're going to have to be brave. And I mean brave like a long-haired hippie environmentalist wearing a Save the Planet shirt who hands out PETA pamphlets at a PRCA rodeo in San Antonio, Texas.

Now some might think that last comment is funny. Some might not. But, oh well. I'm taking the risk and throwing it out there.

I wore a hot pink Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt to school when I was a teen. My awesome dad had brought it back for me after one of his trips out of town. On the back it said, "Save the Planet".  This was in a very VERY small town in Southern Utah. It took a lot of courage to wear that to school in a place where calling someone an environmentalist is the worst insult they could dream up. Let's just say the teasing I got helped develop my thick skin.

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Have you developed a thick skin? Do you deal well with criticism? How DO you deal with critiques of your work? 


  1. I love that last quote! And I would only add one comment, that you can't please everyone, but if your target audience laughs, you've done well!

  2. I'm saving this post! I'd like to believe I have a thick skin, yet, I still don't dare look at any review on my book lower than 3 stars, lol.

  3. Ugh...fear of failure is always my Achilles heal. What I wouldn't attempt if I knew I wouldn't fail...

    Great post, and an excellent addition to the A to Z challenge.

  4. Oh yeah. Any writer, comedic or not, needs a thick skin. We can't survive without it. :-)

  5. Erin, I was scrolling through the A to Z list, saw your name, and remembered you from Chautauqua, so I thought I'd drop by to say Hi.

    I'd say I have a semi-thick skin. I usually deal pretty well with critique and criticism of my work, but sometimes a comment will slip through that will dissolve me into a blubbering pile of goo. At that point I just have to let myself cry it out, then pull myself back together, extract the info that can help me improve, and get right back to it.

    Best of luck with the A to Z challenge,

  6. Not everyone is going to understand or get everything we do but we have to move forward. Hey, they laughed at Galileo for saying the world was round!

  7. Hi Erin! Came by on my A to Z tour. Yours is the first blog that's also doing humor, either all the time or at least for the challenge. I'm going to read your earlier entries, because I do humor as well. It's a different kind than yours, and I've had to Develop a thick skin as well. I took over a blog from its founder, and that blogger had one style, and I had another. We both wrote humor, but as one commenter described it, the founder's posts were mirthful, and mine were... acid.

    Well, acid is useful. Acid allows you to scrub off the useless crud that disguises what you're really buying. Acid can make something cruddy shine. Acid can get your attention. And who doesn't like a big pitcher of lemonade? You need the acid of lemons to get there.

    If you get a chance, come check us out. Greetings from Northern California.

  8. Thanks for the quotes! and I completely agree with this post! :)

  9. I think I'm a great work in progress when it comes to developing a thick skin. Margaret's quote is so on the money. And bout not fearing failure, I think it's more never giving up whether you fear it or not. Loads of people don't fear failure because they've never really tried.

  10. Erin,

    Criticism is difficult. For the most part, I think I handle it pretty well (well, aside from the crying and gnashing of teeth) and try to use it to improve my writing. Mostly, I try to see what worked and didn't with my "beta readers" and then step back to see where I can make changes.
    "And I mean brave like a long-haired hippie environmentalist wearing a Save the Planet shirt who hands out PETA pamphlets at a PRCA rodeo in San Antonio, Texas." <--- this made me laugh out loud. I got funny looks. I am totally okay with that.