But it's certainly a stinky one.
I know some (okay, okay, a lot of) people have written about this before, but I wanted to touch on and then expand what's already been said. For the next four days, I'll be blogging patience.
This may come as a shock to you, but you need patience if you want to be a writer.
*Gasp*, you say. No, it can't be so!
But it is, my friend, it is. I think we're all aware that publishing is a turtle business in today's very-much-bionic-rabbit world (because even real bunnies, as cute as they are, aren't faster than my internet). So I won't go into that again. You need time, and patience, to pursue publication.
Today's topic is: the patience to deal with critiques. This is important because if you are pursuing publication, whether you like it or not, people are going to critique your work. Even if you never show it to anyone but prospective agents (a very bad idea), they will critique your work, too. A rejection is a critique. This is probably the hardest part for me, to be honest. But it's not even that hard, it's just something that varies day to day depending on my mood. I tend to go a little Misunderstood Artist and be all angsty when I get a critique that misses something completely, something I've been careful to include. But this is rare, and it serves a valuable lesson-- obviously, if I thought it was, er, well, obvious, but that person missed it, perhaps it wasn't obvious enough. So even though my reaction might be to set flames to my MS at first, once I step back and let my patience take over, I generally realize something very valuable came out of the encounter. It's valuable whether I use it or not, in fact, because when I'm writing what I'm working on next, I will keep those tiny (or huge) flaws of mine in mind.
Critique is invaluable to your success as a writer, both how you deal with it and how you use it. But you have to open your eyes to it and LET it help you, otherwise it's useless. My first instinct is debate. Those of you who have been in class with me know this. I am able to see most points, but if I don't, I want to argue, and have to restrain myself from defending my work and let the person say what they are going to say. I am working on this patience in myself. I want to be the best writer that I can, so I drink in every critique, every counter-point that comes my way. I may not like the way it tastes, but boy is it good for my health.
This may be easy or difficult to answer, but how do critiques of your work help (or hinder) you?