Did I make you look? Good! Because sadomasochistic is how many people see us creative folk. We spend countless hours, days, months and years looking for acceptance and bowing our heads to the shame of rejection. Or do we?
I do not believe that soliciting one’s work is any form of S&M. It’s just nature. Like dudes who’ve gotta ski or surf… the powder and the waves call to them. And so do our words, beckoning our right-brains to conjure up query letters and pitches to hopefully garner the right kind of attention.
Along the way toward being published, however, is where thick skin comes in. You’re going to have a lot of it if you go far. Eucerin won’t help. Either will pumice (Owen, pumice my feet!). In fact, you don’t really want the thick skin to go away. You’ve earned it by accepting countless rejections, hearing nothing from agents and editors about your work, and receiving the dreaded “not for me” letters from those who accepted your query bait and asked to see the partial or full.
How should you care for your thick skin? Some writers choose to douse it repeatedly in alcohol. Others seek the comfort of chocolate (not a bad idea, considering that cocoa butter is good for the epidermis). Still, the best way to care for your thick skin is to continue toughening it. Your hide is your strength, and whether you never see a published book, or you’re waiting with glee for your ARCs to show up, you’d be a smart pen holder to wear your thick skin with pride.