I recently came across some great advice in Madison Smartt Bell’s book, Narrative Design. It has since stayed with me, despite my neglecting to take the wisdom to heart.
This is a section in the book where Bell writes about how he opened/opens his classes (Iowa workshop):
“Assume that when your work is being discussed, about 90 percent of what you hear will be useless to you and irrelevant to what you have done. Learn to listen carefully and to discriminate what’s useful to you from what’s not. Remember the relevant part and ignore the rest. If even one person understands what you intended to be understood, then you can say you have succeeded. Past that, the only issue is just how widely accessible you want your work to be. Don’t try to please the group. Don’t even try to please me. The person you have to please is yourself. Your job is to become the best judge of your own work. If you do become a professional writer at some point, you’ll need that skill more than ever before.”