thick skin criticism
Photo Credit: 123RF

If there is one piece of advice that I have heard more than any others, it is this: Develop a thick skin.

I’ve heard it from family members, friends, fellow writers, and editors. A thick skin, it seems, is the quintessential job requirement for a writer, especially those of us who write creative nonfiction. With each personal essay, we aren’t just opening our writing abilities up to critique; we are subjecting our beliefs, lifestyle, and relationships to criticism, judgment, and debate. A thick skin, I’ve been told, is a good way to smooth the edges of harsh criticism. By putting on a heavy coat of armor, in theory, we can protect ourselves from rejection, disparagement, and negativity so that we can, through our writing, take off the armor and lay ourselves bare.

At least, that’s the goal.

But what about those of us for whom the “thick skin” regimen doesn’t work? What about those of us with the thinnest of thin skins? Are we doomed to cower in a corner of fear until we toughen up our skin – along with our delicate egos and overflowing hearts?

You can read the rest of this post over at Beyond Your Blog where I write about why I’ve stopping trying to grow a thick skin and am embracing my thin skin more.



  1. I, too, have tried and largely failed to develop a thick skin. Like you, I have, in the meantime, grown into my own skin and am pretty dang happy there. 🙂 Good for you!
    Also, brava on your terrific piece in Redbook!!!

I want to know what you think. Really. Leave a comment here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Psst... Why not enter your email below and add a little awesomeness to your inbox?

You have Successfully Subscribed!