I recently found something I had written a long time ago about getting a rejection letter. It was hard to read. The reviewer had made some personal comments, diagnosing me with an eating disorder from my essay. I had been so hurt.
Before I got off the oils I took things very personally. At the time I stuffed the letter and set aside the idea of publishing. I just couldn’t handle the idea of having anyone say something like that to me again.
Now I look at her assumptions and I laugh. I can honestly see how she came to make them. I don’t think it was very kind of her to point it out, and I wonder if I’d had an eating disorder if a comment from a complete stranger would have made it better or worse. But now that I’m off the oils and I can look at that letter and my essay objectively, I see what might have made her think that. I will in future do a better job about how I phrase things.
Steven King wrote that he used the comments on his rejected pieces to hone his writing and we all know that eventually he did get published. I guess in a way I’m doing that too.
Weirdly criticism is part of getting better at writing. I don’t like it, but it is part and parcel of making sure that your audience is understanding what you write.