Posted On June 17, 2013 by Print This Post

Building Your Thick Outer Skin with Nicole Flockton

Rhino skin. We’ve all been told we need it, we’ve all tried to grow a layer of it over our fragile egos.  Nicole Flockton shares with us some ideas on how to toughen your own.

Nicole-7502-LR-ColorHow do you build that thick skin? That thick layer of skin that will insulate you from the criticisms, rejection, bad reviews you received when you send your precious words out into the big wide world.

My thoughts, there’s no easy way to do it, it doesn’t happen overnight. And, really, every person is completely different in the way they approach and deal with these things.

What I do think happens, is that over time you actually find out what works for you, and eventually you learn to turn the other cheek. But it is a process that only you, as an individual, can work out.

For me I’ve always tried to disengage myself from my work. Break that emotional attachment. It’s very hard to do but to keep your sanity, you have to cut those ties.

I remember my first rejection. It came about seven months after I moved from Perth, Australia to Houston, Texas. My husband was away on business and I was all alone. I tried to be positive and say well it wasn’t a form rejection they did tell me what didn’t work. But to be truthful it did hurt and for a while I didn’t write, even though I had a request for a full manuscript from another publisher.

RescuingDawnCoverNow that I’m published I’m open to reviews. To people telling me I totally suck and they want a refund. OUCH! But you know what? It’s going to happen. I can’t control it. I have to live with it. I know not everyone will love my book but there will be people who will soak up every word I write.

I like to think that my days of ballroom dancing may have built up my ability to take the criticisms I received from editors and readers on the chin. When I was dancing my feet off to get a good mark on my dancing medals, I had no idea what the judges thought of my dancing. When I did get my score-sheets and saw the judges comments, I learned that what I thought was perfect, in someone else’s eyes, not so much. Or it could’ve been the constant teasing from my big brother – who is now one of my biggest cheerleaders – that gave me a little bit of a thicker skin. Only I didn’t know it at the time.

But some days, even if you have the thickest skin possible, those words will hurt. The best thing to do is take the hurt, accept it and then move on. But don’t ever doubt your abilities. Always believe in yourself.


Do you have a routine you go through if you receive a rejection or bad review?

Join us on Wednesday for Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn.


He helps save lives, now he wants to save hers.

Dawn Granger has loved and lost and it’s a road she’s not prepared to travel again, that is until her past turns up and has her questioning her resolve.

Andrew Holmes has sailed the globe numerous times, when he almost loses his life, he decides he needs to give something back so he returns home and trains as a paramedic. When he runs into his former sweetheart he is surprised to find an attraction he thought dead come to life. When he sees the sadness in Dawn he knows he will do anything to make her smile again.

Dawn tries to resist Andrew but their past pulls at her in ways she thought long dead. Can she trust a man who’s run out on her once before? Can she risk putting her heart on the line again? Or will it all be taken from her again.

Bio: On her very first school report her teacher said ‘Nicole likes to tell her own stories’.
It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter and after having fun on the community board of that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.
The stories she writes are contemporary romances with either a medical setting or in the boardrooms of high powered business. Nicole enjoys taking two characters and creating unique situations for them.

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17 Responses to “Building Your Thick Outer Skin with Nicole Flockton”

  1. Nicole, thanks for the post—and for the perspective!

    A few words about rhino skin: When I wrote ZURI, I did lots & lots of research about rhinos. As it turns out, they have thick hides but thin skins. Which is exactly what writers need: thick hides to help insulate us from rejections & lousy reviews—and thin skin that gives us the heightened awareness that results in compelling fiction.

    Posted by Ruth Harris | June 17, 2013, 6:42 am
  2. Morning Nicole!

    I think that is the worst part about writing, the criticisms. I can take the “you forgot to put your comma here!” or the “show don’t tell”…but some of the reviews I’ve seen? Oy.

    Do you think in this day and age, with people essentially being able to “hide” behind the internet, that that gives them more freedom to say things they normally wouldn’t?

    Thanks for post with us today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | June 17, 2013, 8:17 am
    • Hi Carrie

      I think yes the internet does give the reader a certain amount of anonymity that they didn’t have before.

      Unfortunately the reader is just as passionate about what they read as we are about what we write.

      The sting never goes away, but also you’ve created an emotional response in the reader so you have done your job. With every negative response, there are plenty of positive ones!

      Posted by Nicole Flockton | June 17, 2013, 11:00 am
  3. Hi Nicole,

    With the Internet, rejection is instantaneous. I just try to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | June 17, 2013, 9:17 am
  4. I just recently started reviewing books. I am an avid reader and I have dabbled with writing in my spare time. I still hope to publish a novel some day. I know the struggles of writing and I understand pouring yourself into your work to have someone write that you stink. This is what I know for sure, I am a reader first and I will buy the daylights out of authors who have talent. I have bought horrible novels by authors who initially wowed me and I continue to support them because I know their potential however I still have to review the horrible book. I think writers have to come into this game knowing that if you miss the mark someone is going to be unhappy and if your audience bought your work expecting to experience “you” and they get less than what they bargained for… You’re going to hear about it. Either through your sales or by a review

    Posted by Trenika | June 17, 2013, 9:25 am
    • Hi Trenika, what you say is so true. Sometimes an author may try to go a little outside the box for a book and it will either hit or miss – I love that you’ll still support them because you’ve been wowed before.

      And yes, as an author we have to accept the good with the bad.

      Good luck with your writing.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Posted by Nicole Flockton | June 17, 2013, 11:07 am
  5. Developing a thick skin is soooo hard to do, but I think the most important thing is to keep in mind the fact that not everyone will love your writing. That’s just how it is. Not everyone loves Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Find your audience, and write for them.

    Posted by Jessica Flory | June 17, 2013, 9:52 am
  6. It’s so hard to keep that skin thick. I find every book, I need to redevelop my outer shell. In my office, I have a stuffed armadillo that I bought after listening to Lisa Kleypas speak about the very same topic. I was unpublished at the time, but now that I am published, I realize we all suffer from the same insecurities – even authors like Lisa Kleypas. Your point about remembering you can’t control people’s reactions is a great one.

    Terrific post!

    Posted by Barbara Wallace | June 17, 2013, 11:59 am
    • Hi Barbara,

      Sometimes you forget that you’re not alone in having these feelings of doubt that even the most successful person will have them as well.

      And yes with every book you have to build it up again. We try not have expectations, but it’s impossible not to have them.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Posted by Nicole Flockton | June 17, 2013, 12:07 pm
  7. Hi Nicole – I think this is an important lesson for writers, and also an extremely difficult one. I toughened my skin a bit by submitting stories to contests. For every great comment, there were an equal or greater number of scathing comments. Most were fair, if harsh, and I had to learn how to take the positive and ignore the negative (after fixing the problems, where that was possible).

    Thanks so much for a great post and a much-needed reminder. Reviews are the price we pay for putting ourselves – and our stories – out there.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | June 17, 2013, 5:05 pm
    • Hi Becke,

      Oh yes contests are a minefield to traverse but also can be the best thing for a writer starting out. As you said they definitely can toughen up the skin and they can also give you some invaluable feedback.

      Again it comes back to disengaging yourself from your work which is easier said than done some days LOL

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Nicole Flockton | June 17, 2013, 8:35 pm
  8. Thanks so much Nicole for posting with us today! It’s a valuable lesson all writers will need…



    Posted by Carrie Spencer | June 17, 2013, 11:55 pm

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