Could telling writers to “get thicker skin” be responsible for the decline in GREAT writing?

Why can’t we just be who God made us!


I hear it/see it every day. Someone says it . . .
Someone writes an article about it . . .
Someone tweets about it . . .
Someone blogs about it . . .

Writers have to develop a thicker skin.


Is it really absolutely necessary for a writer to develop a thicker skin? Or, is it possible that it could actually be better for their writing if they don’t?


Consider this:

A writer’s job is to get inside their characters heads, their readers heads, their story’s head. The nature of fiction writing is to put yourself into your story and your characters completely.

If you can’t do that, odds are you aren’t a very good writer.

So why is it everyone says constantly that writers need to have thicker skin? Stephenie Meyer didn’t. She has been so affected by her experience as an author, she’s not even writing anymore. Now, I don’t claim to know Stephenie personally. And maybe she’s written what she had inside her and has since moved on to other interests.

Maybe she’s perfectly happy doing what she’s doing now.

Or maybe she just got sick of people telling her she needed to develop thicker skin . . . Maybe she got tired of telling people close to her that the pressure was getting to her to have them come back with “You’ve got to toughen up Steph . . .” I know I would.

In fact, I have.

I’ve heard a variation of that from almost everyone I know . . . my whole life.

“You can’t let things get to you like this.”
“You can’t let people bother you so much.”
“You have to let this stuff go and move on.”
“You have to stop letting stuff upset you so much. It’s not healthy.”

That’s the one that really gets me.

And how is it that it’s OK for people to BE the way they want to be as long as it’s not stressful to someone else!

OFF-TOPIC for just a bit:

Why is it OK for people to decide they’re homosexuals and we’re just supposed to be OK with it, supposed to accept them the way they are? Why is it OK for boys to decide they would rather be a girl or vice versa and we’re supposed to accept them and go on? Why is it OK for someone to decide they need to pierce or tattoo every inch of their bodies and we’re not supposed to give them a hard time about it or look at them funny?


God made me a sensitive person. God made me someone who can put myself in someone else’s place (which ironically means I am NOT someone who gives any of the above people mentioned a hard time) and feel their pain. God made me to be someone who uses their imagination as an escape from my life. I don’t take medicine or drugs (prescribed or otherwise) to make myself “feel better”.
I read. I pray. I write. I play with my children.

So stop trying to “FIX ME” Please!

I’m good. Really. I like myself the way I am. I like who God made me. I’m not perfect and that’s OK! I wouldn’t want to be perfect. It would be a lot harder to exist in this world full of sin if I were.

And please stop trying to “FIX” everybody else! Let them be who they are! Let them be who God made them!

OK. Back on topic:

Has anyone ever considered that thickening their skin might actually be responsible for losing some of their talent in writing? If you’re supposed to be able to “Get in the skin of your characters”, wouldn’t it make sense that thicker skin would hurt that ability? Wouldn’t it make sense that if you close yourself off to the thoughts and emotions of others, your writing would suffer?

It makes perfect sense to me.

Why can’t we take that emotion and pour it into our writing? Let it fuel the anger of one of your characters. Let it fuel bitterness of a scorned woman, a hurt child, a neglected young adult. Let it feed your characters. Let it pour into them and then back out on the page.

It’s what I do. And so far, it’s working for me.

I like my emotions just the way they are, thank you very much.

© J.C. Morrows 2013

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God Bless You!

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