Hello there! It’s almost the new year, so I should probably be writing about resolutions and all of that good stuff, but no. I don’t do the whole “New Year’s Resolution!” thing. Honestly, all they are 99.9% of the time are promises that aren’t followed through on. Yeah… I’ll pass. Instead, I’m going to be a bit of a downer and ramble for a while about how rejection and self-doubt are pretty much the norm for a writer. But that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.
So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I haven’t written anything aside from blog posts and a measly 200 words this month. And no, I have no plans to remedy that in the next few days. Why? Because, I reached a point where I was feeling utterly discouraged and hit that “what’s the point?” wall. For everyone who’s wondering if maybe I’m depressed, no. It’s completely different. It’s that angry “want to punch someone (except it’s not really anyone’s fault, so I have no one to direct said anger at) in the reproductive organs” type of feeling. For me, at least. Super annoying, right?
Nothing big happened to make me feel this way, it was just an accumulation of all the little things. I suppose the most obvious thing would be the rejection slips that keep coming in from the places I submit short stories to. I know they’re the hardest part of this whole writing gig for a lot of people, and yeah, I admit that sometimes they hurt, but I was ready for that going in. It wasn’t until I got one last month (when I was already starting to feel the rage build) that it really got to me. I had to stop and remind myself that rejection doesn’t equal failure. My manuscript probably wasn’t even read! Not that that makes any of this better, but it most likely sat in a slush pile for six months (and that’s a quick response time) only to have someone glance at the first sentence (if that much) and hit the reject button. Call me cynical, but that’s how I picture it.
Speaking of six months in a slush pile, that’s what gets to me the most: the waiting. Whether you’re sending it to a magazine or an agent or just your best writer pal for feedback, writing is mostly a waiting game. Contrary to my behavior, I’m actually an exceedingly impatient person. I was raised to get things done in a timely manner, to always meet deadlines, yadda yadda. You know that whole “if you’re only five minutes early, you’re late” thing? That. So, the waiting gets to me. I start thinking things must really suck (which is fine, just tell me that so I can fix it or move on). But people in the writing field, like many creative folks, seem to have no concept of the movement of time outside of their stories. I’m going to have to get used to that. But, for now, I’m wallowing in the self-doubt it causes.
But you know what? It’s okay to wallow sometimes. Taking a long break can be helpful. Recharging is needed. In the past month, I’ve tweaked the plot on my novel-in-progress, come up with two ideas for other novels (possibly screenplays, I haven’t decided), and finally took the time to look at my screenplay-in-progress (which I’m thinking about getting back to in January). I think I just needed some time to refuel. In other words, know when to push through the pity party and when to embrace it.
I’ll see you next year!