Sensitive Skin Like Rawhide

RawhideLast week I read a post on author Matt Haig’s blog about some of the things he’s learned after being a writer for 12 years. It’s pretty funny and I suspect terribly true if you want to check it out.

Of his 24 items, one really struck me–#8. “They say that to be a writer you need a thick skin. This is true. But the bummer is that to write well you need to be a hypersensitive freak.”

First I laughed really hard. Then I pondered it a bit. And you know, he’s right (or “they” are–“they” often are). You’ve got to be sensitive enough to notice things, to pay attention to how people act and feel and react. You need to notice sounds and smells and the way yellow leaves fly from the trees in autumn like tumbling bits of sunlight.

That’s what makes writing feel authentic. But when you send your words out into the world, you have to be prepared for people to, um, tell you what they think. And from what I’ve seen on Amazon reviews, they don’t always have sweet, kind, supportive thoughts.

So what’s a writer to do?

It occurred to me that it’s not unlike the Christian walk. We have to be open enough to love, well, everyone. But we also have to be strong enough to remain standing when loving people gets difficult.

Oh. Wait. Seems like there’s a scripture for that.

Ephesians 6:13-17 – “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

I guess Christian authors have a secret weapon when it comes to being sensitive and thick-skinned at the same time. The Holy Spirit makes me sensitive and the armor of God makes me strong.

Now promise you’ll remind me of that when I get my first bad review.

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