remember that like any exercise if it ain't hurting, it ain't working. In my on-line life I often haunt the word cloud where aspiring and published writers meet.
Part of the wonderfulness of the cloud is that one can post extracts from your work and open it up to the critical eyes of all and sundry.
Like many newbies, I posted up my early scribblings and sat back waiting for the plaudits to roll in - oh you should be published, oh you're an undiscovered genius - and as you might expect, that did not happen. My first instinct was to huff and go and sulk in my tent, but I didn't.
There is no point refusing to learn from what people say about your work, even if you analyze their comments and refute them, the very act of asking your self the question is the most valuable thing you can do for your work. If your first reaction is denial, don't let it be your last - because if you want to stand any chance of growing as an artist you should never ever think you know it all or ever think you're infallible. You can fight for your work, you can argue your point till there are ample angels on the head of your pin - but don't ever be too proud to take a look at what someone else has said about your work. They may be wrong, but the act of investigating that can push you to see something new and wonderful and ground breaking you would have have created without that introspection.
Oh, and people who have been doing it a lot longer than you, are pretty expert in spotting the same old mistakes they made when they were like you. You can ignore them of course but my guess is you'll realize their right one day, and have wasted a lot more time in your arrogant bubble than was necessary.
I know I did.
And why the cockatoo? Because he's nice!