In a recent inspirational post on Instagram (Follow us @author_coaching), a writer asked us, “I feel like I need thicker skin but also don’t want a hardened heart in the process. Any wisdom on how to do that?"
That’s a great question.
No one wants to become some Grinch-like writer living alone with a dog on top of Mt. Crumpet, envious of all the writers out there doing what you wish you were doing. If you’re an introvert that loves dogs, there might be something in that life for you, but for the rest of us - it’s tough to have thick skin.
If you want to cultivate a thicker skin, the first step is to own the things you can control. You can’t control what that agent is going to say, right? Here’s what you can control: Putting together a well-researched query letter. You’ve done everything you can to give your manuscript the best opportunity possible: you know the agent’s genre of expertise, you’ve included a book proposal, and you’ve written a quality letter to this agent. That’s it. You’ve set the table for success. An agent is just one example. The same truth applies to publishers, literary magazines, etc. Once you’ve submitted to any of them, what happens next is out of your control…
Except…Doing it again after you hear back, “No, this isn’t for me.”
Once you get that rejection, that “No,” you should already be putting together another note to the next agent, the next publisher, the next magazine. Building a thicker skin begins with repetition. If you only do something once in a while, especially only when you feel like it, it only makes it that much harder to do. If you only do ten push-ups every six months, those will be really tough. But if you do 2-3 push-ups a day for a few weeks, doing ten will be a breeze. Please note: If you can do more than ten push-ups, you’re not writing enough. More writing, fewer push-ups. :-)
“Building a thicker skin begins with repetition.”
If you’re reading this email, you’re pushing past amateur status, you’re turning pro, so you've heard it said that publishing is a numbers game. What you control is the number of opportunities. If you’re a fan of The Office, there’s a funny moment when Michael Scott quotes himself quoting Wayne Gretzky’s famous line, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” This is true in both hockey and publishing. It’s also the foundation for building a thicker skin.
Thicker skin begins with building repetition. You’ll get stronger and tougher as you go. And when you’re feeling like your skin isn’t thick enough, remind yourself to focus on the things you can control.
What if you had the secrets of the publishing industry explained to you? Imagine having a mentor walk with you step-by-step to getting your book published.
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