Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Same Old Story!

I'm having an energy slump at the moment! I'm not sure whether it's because my body is fighting off some sort of cold or what it is. My exercise regime has gone out of the window this week, but I am trying to compensate by 'eating clean', drinking lots of water, no alcohol and resting as much as possible.

I got a rejection from one of the women's magazines yesterday, which hasn't helped this gloomy feeling that has suddenly descended. It was a 1,000 word short story, and I was told there were no surprises. Does there have to be a surprise? Clearly. I'm not very good at surprises, however. Perhaps an area to work on?

Now I'm doubting my abilities in every area again. This sense of failure permeates everything I do and has done from an early age. I wish I could get over it! These feelings become so overwhelming that I tend to freeze and do very little for a while. I know I have to keep plugging away in the face of rejection, but it's one of the hardest things about being a writer. We're constantly looking for recognition that our work is worthwhile.

And just how many writing projects should I have on the go at any one time? I have many literary short stories I'd like to collate and send off to The Scott Prize. I'd like to research more online journals and see if I can write something suitable. I'd like to finish my novel. I'd like to finish the pocket novel for My Weekly. Can I do all that and more? Or am I biting off more than I can chew?

My gremlin is peering over my shoulder as I write this, whispering, 'What's the point? You're wasting your time. Admit it, you're never going to get published ever again. Face it, it's been too long since you last got anything published! Did you really expect to make any money out of this writing lark?' and so on.... Perhaps I could either shout really loudly at my gremlin or shoot him?

Issue 6 of The Yellow Room Magazine is still with the typesetter.


CharmedLassie said...

Don't just shoot the gremlin, kick him repeatedly - really hard - and get your frustrations out!

As far as your workload goes, I think maybe you just need to manage it and prioritise - you can't do everything at once, even though I know the feelings of inadequacy if you don't. Keep plugging away at something, even if it's just the online research. But remember to relax a little and treat yourself to something to get over the rejection. I always watch a musical!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo. It's tough.
What you need is inspiration, a reason to remember why you want to write and could do nothing else. The best way to do this is to read a good book. Perhaps one you love already or by an author you find insipiring. This always seems to pick me up and get me excited again.
I can help you shoot the gremlin - sometimes people get a bit too attached to their gremlin. I know I am. : )
Good luck! and remember there's no joy in something that comes easy.

Sherri said...

Sorry about the return, Jo. Don't take the comments too much to heart - there are a few standard phrases they use that really mean they weren't quite right for them at the moment. And, no, in my opinion stories don't always have to have a surprise or even be surprising.
It's so competitive, as you know, and for every story they pick there are dozens of other good stories that just don't make it on the day.
Tidy it up (if necessary) and send it somewhere else.
As for that gremlin, I find shouting at mine loudly helps - though I won't tell you what I say as this is a polite forum!

Joanna said...

Jo, you should definitely send the story out again. Some of mine have succeeded on the third, or even fourth, attempt.
I think it's fine to feel down for a while. It's totally understandable. But give yourself a limit and say that after half an hour or even five minutes of suffering that sense of rejection, you will move on from it and look again at the story. It feels much better once you've sent it somewhere else. You can then forget about it and concentrate on the next project.
I think I would choose one of your projects at at a time and concentrate on that singly until you feel you would like a change. Each one can wait until you feel ready to tackle it.
And don't be too hard on yourself, especially as you aren't feeling on top form this week. Take it slowly and aim to enjoy it rather than worry about it.

Jo said...

Thank you for your lovely comments! I'm amazed at receiving so many within such a short time. I will send the story out again once I've looked at it again. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a gremlin! Finding a favourite book or film is a good idea. Thanks for that, CharmedLassie and Freya!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Shoot the damn gremlin and allow your muse back in. I find it helps to read a 'how to' book again or a writing magazine. It always fills me with fresh enthusiasm when I feel let down.

Jan Carr said...

I would feed the gremlin lard sandwiches and watch it pop. Oh yes.
Then, when I get through this next batch of agents I shall step inside my new story-world. I'm God there.