Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Author's Skin: Part 2

I wrote previously about how writers respond to criticism of their work.  There's another reason to make sure our skin is thick enough, though: If you're in the public eye, people might go after more than your work.

Think of all the things about you or your personal life people could make fun of or attack.  Your appearance, social status, ethnicity, religion ... I've got a mental list of "easy targets" ready and waiting.

I could save the late-night talk show hosts some time and money by writing the jokes myself.

Where do we draw the line between standing up for ourselves and ignoring people who just want to get a rise out of us?  How do we keep ourselves from taking it personally when it is personal?

Since I halfway expect it, I think I'd just brush it off as ignorance.  I'd also want to try to educate people, to counteract that ignorance, but it's tricky.  Of course, I won't really know unless I ever get into that situation, though online communities have given plenty of small-scale practice.

Last thing I want is to become known as the author who blew up over a supposed personal affront.

I'd rather be known as the author who wrote great books and conducted herself in a classy manner.  Anyone else?


Exmoorjane said...

Ah, depends on your personality, doesn't it? Some people can't resist rising to the 'challenge'. Others just 'let it go'. I think you're right - learning how to deal with criticism (of your actual 'self', rather than just your writing) is part of the learning process of writing.
Mainly I think it comes down to self-esteem and a strong (in a good way) ego. If you know who you are, you don't feel the need to defend that self...
I'm still with good old Bailey 'rise above, rise above'..... ;)

R.C. Lewis said...

Jane, I think you're an expert in the area. I like to think I'm good at keeping my cool and taking the high road, but no one's really attacked me like that ... yet.