A friend has just shared with me a tweet they read from Matt Haig:
‘To be a writer you need a thick skin.’ True. But to write well in the first place you need to be a hypersensitive wreck. (Irony.)
How true this feels at the moment.
Currently, I’m on a high. Sonali finally published, I’m guest-blogging all over about it, giving talks, raising money for Ria’s campaign and even about to give my first ever Facebook interview for a closed group for interested Bengali-learners!
At the same time, I have editors almost literally throwing work at me which will take up the next two months at least. All paid – the kids can eat for the next few weeks at least.
As if this wasn’t enough, my Masters degree thesis is well on the way with all the field research complete and much of the literature review work on the way. I still have to write the damned thing admittedly but a couple of months ago I didn’t think the research would even begin let alone get as far as writing anything!
So how is it that just one negative incident can turn this 🙂 into this 😦 ?
It could be anything – a rejection letter (we get plenty of those as writers don’t we?); a criticism of something we’ve written (if we don’t write material which challenges then surely we’re not writing anything at all?); or, in this case, a disagreement with friends over the use of a photo in one of my articles.
I should be thick-skinned and get over it. The matter has been dealt with, I hope, to everyone’s satisfaction. Yet, I’ve had sleepless nights about it all. It’s not the first time I’ve had this reaction and won’t be the last, I’m sure, but it’s a right bugger when you’re trying to get on with commercial work or even just your next book (and I’m doing both at the moment). The last two days have not been productive ones. Professionally, I admire the writers I know who have skin the thickness of elephant hide. However, I confess, I wouldn’t want to be like them. I find them rude and arrogant on a personal level.
Haig’s tweet is brilliantly concise and accurate in this respect. I’m still learning, even after several years now as a freelancer, how to be the hypersensitive wreck which gives me the artistic drive to create – and yet develop that thick skin to prevent the bad times from stultifying my work. I managed this time…but it was a close thing.