on Jane Friedman site:
About 10 years ago, I was moaning to my longtime mentor about the mean comments posted on one of my articles. “What is wrong with people?” I asked him. He’s written for Vogue, the New York Times, and published a string of well-regarded books, and while I have done none of those things, I was sure he could use a gripe session, too.
Instead he shrugged and said, “If you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, don’t step into the ring.”
OUCH. I had not been looking for tough love. I wanted sympathy. Why couldn’t he understand that I’m a delicate artiste who needs everyone else to cater to my exquisite sensitivities? What was so hard to grasp about my needing endless external validation and not criticism, much less typo-riddled harangues from strangers?
Okay, so I was the confused one. My mentor had it right, I just needed a little time to come around to his way of thinking. Once I did, though, my worldview rearranged itself in a better order—I had fewer expectations and could accept a wider range of outcomes. It is difficult yet important to toughen up a little, and to develop enough confidence in your work that you’re not sunk every time someone dislikes it and says so, at length.