This started out with a perfectly obvious statement and went weird fast.  Just so you know, when I get feedback, yes, there’s this flash of complete disconnect with reality:  it’s not my fault you didn’t think it was perfect…but I sit on it.  If I trust you, I might vent a little first…but you can’t ghostwrite if you can’t swallow your own feelings on a project.

My confidence goes up and down based on results.  The thing about getting a rejection is that your confidence goes down.  Getting criticism on a story, your confidence goes down.  One of the better things that I’ve done for myself is learning the difference between a drop in confidence and a personal attack.  If you lash out every time your ego takes a hit – if you lash out every time someone makes you question yourself…

I get this all the time.  People lash out at me on Facebook all the time.  They see something I post and they don’t like it – they hop onto my post and attack me as thought I’d started something.  Because they don’t know how to question themselves.  Sometimes it’s hard as a writer – editors are getting backlash from writers who can’t question themselves all the time.  Agent, too – anyone who has to tell a writer “no.”  Women are all the time getting bullshit from men who can’t question themselves.

When you’re on the receiving end, it’s fucking insanity.  But when it’s you questioning yourself, it seems perfectly natural to shift the blame onto someone else; half the time you don’t even know you’re doing it.  But it’s serious:  how many people get killed every year because they cheated on their spouse – and made the spouse question whether they were worthy of love?  The same forces come to bear when you’re getting edits.  [Or rejections.]  You’re stirring up the inner psychopath.

So if you’re going to write, learn how to question yourself, or nobody’s going to work with you.  [...] Humility is the ability not to go insane in the face of accurate feedback. [...]  I have the greatest respect for [editing clients] who can work through the period of psychosis or whatever it is when they get their feedback, and honestly improve how they write.

If you like this post, check out my horror novelette, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.