A successful writer needs to master the craft of writing, but there's another requirement and this one can't be taught: a thick skin. Writer Barbara Henderson revealed her experiences with this, for an article on ChronicleLive.com, written by Hannah Flint:
"The 53-year-old said she had suffered major setbacks in her career and that let-downs from publishing companies could be hurtful.
She spoke of her 'blackest moment' as a writer in which her children’s novel, The Serpent House, was rejected after a year of it being held by a publisher.
It happened after the book was shortlisted for the 2010 Times/Chicken House prize, but Barbara had missed out on winning. And then Chicken House, a children’s book publishing company, kept the manuscript for a year before telling Barbara that they were no longer interested.
She said: “That was such a setback and I was gutted. I can’t do anything about it, but that was my blackest moment. After a while, I was able to feel strong enough to put it out again.”
I can relate to that: it took 13 years between the time I wrote the screenplay for "The Real Howard Spitz" and the time it was produced. And one of my sitcom proposals was held by a broadcaster for more than a year before they decided although they liked it, they felt the audience wouldn't get it. I'm sure just about every writer has one or more stories like that...but that doesn't mean it gets any easier.
Barbara Henderson said it took her 18 months before she recovered from the disappointment and sent the manuscript out again. It's a good thing she did, because the book found a publisher and won praise.
She said, “My advice to anyone else would be to be very persistent and try to toughen up a little bit because it is really hurtful if someone turns you down.”
(for friendly advice on writing your book, get a copy of Your Writing Coach, published by Nicholas Brealey and available from your favorite bookseller.)