It's getting easier.
Really, it is. Though it always stings a little, and will always make me initially defensive, this process is necessary and good and will prepare me for more difficult things.
What is this thing I speak of? The dreaded critique! As usual, this new set of eyes caught things other readers never picked up on (and reiterated some opinions I'd formerly disagreed with.) Though I still felt that initial sting of someone not thinking my book baby was perfect (I'd love to imagine I don't think this, but my reactions out me every time), my "healing time" was a lot shorter.
Or, you could say, I marched through the stages of Critique Grief much faster than usual.
You know what I'm talking about:
Mama Bear (MY BABY IS PERFECT AND YOU'RE WRONG) Denial
Guilt (I'M SORRY MY PRECIOUS BOOK BABY! THIS IS ALL MY FAULT!)
Anger/Bargaining (HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT MY BOOK BABY? THIS IS WHY IT WORKS AND YOU'RE WRONG!)
Depression )I'M A TERRIBLE WRITER AND WHY DIDN'T I SEE X,Y,Z?)
Acceptance (I CAN FIX YOU MY PRECIOUS BABY!)
Ever experienced any of these? How do you handle them? Wine? Chocolate? Potato chips? Dipping potato chips into the chocolate?
As writers, it's necessary to grow a tough skin. Self-care is important, but so is learning to armor up. If and when we get published, bad reviews will come, trolls will vent their spleens, and not everyone will fall madly in love with our book babies. So critiques are good practice for what is to come.
And hopefully, along the way, we can laugh with each other and make the journey a bit less heavy.