I also write poetry, which has always embarrassed me to admit. But in the past couple of years I’ve started actually trying to get published in that area, and I’ve had a few successes, so maybe it’s OK to tell people. If anyone’s looking to thicken their skin, I recommend submitting to literary journals. They’ll reject you immediately with a nice note, reject you slowly with a form letter, lose your submission for nine months and then find it again and reject you. One magazine I submitted to folded while I was waiting to hear back, so I put that in the “not a rejection” column.
The successful writer is the one who doesn’t give up.