(This is an excerpt from an email to a friend of mine I am sure I may have said this before, but it bears repeating!)
The difference between an author and a writer (in my humble but wise opinion) [Other than one makes money and the other doesn’t] the thickness of their skin
I was working with a ‘writer’ here in Denver, he and I used to go to the same writing group. on the same weekend we both presented our 6 page “master Piece Excerpt’ both of us just knew everyone at the table would revel in the greatness, have nothing negative to say, and we would be declared up and coming super stars. What happened instead, to both of us, our work was give honest criticisms. I would say “harsh” but in truth the criticisms were accurate, and the only harsh part was the fall from the greatness in our own minds to the reality of where our work stood.
Both of us, slightly crushed by this, took our works, thanked our critics and went back to our homes. I drank 2 beers, took a hard look at my work and realized that the pointers that were offered were right, and that while I was not elevated to superstar status, I was accepted, that my work had more merits than flaws. I also learned that as long as that was true and I really sat and listened to people reviewing, and accounted for who they are. I would be fine
My friend on the other hand, he quit the group and is now working solo. In touch with me a bit, but overall not wanting anyone to tell him he’s not great. In a way it’s sad, he is talented, but if you can’t accept that you’re not perfect and NEED help, then that Talent is wasted.
It’s hard to do when your story is an extension of you but treat it like your appendix; a piece of you, but not that important of one. Not that you’re going to let your buddy take it out with his pocket knife, but you know that without it you can still live a productive life. That separation is going to be critical. Some people are very invested, and cry at a missing comma or historical fact that’s off, others want to know those things, and sometimes they are willing to prove they are right [I had to do that with Ekmuu, someone actually challenged my ‘dates’ ROFL – they discovered why the group calls me the professor.]
Between indifferent agents & publishers (both of which are swamped with everything ranging from tripe (60-70%) to quality work (35-25%) to master pieces. (5%) and people who don’t ‘get your story or writing’ there a dozen ways to get a million paper cuts, the author powers through, the writer goes back to safety.