In one of my favorite movies, “Because of Winn Dixie,” a little girl is trying some candy for the first time. It’s candy that tastes of sadness and she drops it from her mouth to the sidewalk and says, “Yuck. This tastes bad.” And though I haven’t eaten any sad candy, I’m having one of those days.

A month ago, I submitted my first submission to my online critique group. It was a flash piece that was over-edited and poorly proofed. I was in a hurry, trying to get back and forth to Montana, distracted — I have a lot of reasons for why it was turned in that way, but none of them really excuse me from the responsibility of making sure it was right.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and this week the piece made its way to the front of the queue. Now there must be hundreds of writers who think I’m a hack because I forgot apostrophes and accidentally cut articles — and this is after spending weeks being complemented for my editing skills. One critique told me to make sure and fix all the errors before I sent it to publishers. (Thanks?) What’s worse is that no one has gotten the story. There’s too much going on, there’s not enough going on. And no one has been particularly polite or supportive. I don’t have as much trouble with negative feedback in person, but for some reason, the online lack of tone really gives me a lot of trouble.

I need to get a thicker skin.

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