Sunday, 21 November 2010

Rejections and Writing Confidence

What is the procedure for rejections?

I ask this because there seems to be three camps about them.

  • There are people who don’t talk about rejections. You only ever read about the achievements, the good times, the glamour side of writing.
  • There seem to be people who talk about rejections on their blogs. They say that it doesn’t matter about rejection. It’ll make you a stronger writer (which I agree with) and seem to still praise the editor who rejected them. Do people do this because they don’t want to upset the editor, just in case they come across the blog entry?
  • There are also people who write about rejections and use it as a way to slag off the magazine, etc. They take it personally and just let rip with the swears.

I suppose I am thinking about this because I have recently had a few rejections. A story for a lit magazine was rejected, I didn’t make the short-listing for the novel opening competition and not winning a writing competition.

I am probably in the second camp. But I have probably been in the first camp too. Keeping quiet, not wanting to admit. Is it all down to writing confidence?

for me, yes. Getting hit after hit of rejection can take its toll. I think, am I good enough? Do I have the authority to keep a writing blog? Emails to other writers seems to slow down or stop because I can’t keep emailing saying, oh I had a rejection and I have run out of ideas.

Another aspect of aspect of this loss of writing confidence is the novel. I keep wondering if I can still write short stories? Will there be another idea? Have I used up all of my writing juice? Then more doubt creeps further, crumbling at the writing confidence.
Then I write this blog post and laugh at myself from being so silly.  
Then I remember I have achieved my writing goal – write a novel.

I am now off to unpack my copy of Writing Down the Bones. Its my go-to book when the writing gets tough. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Writer's Guilt

Yesterday I realised I had writer's guilt. I had totally forgotten about my novel. I used to sit there thinking about the plot, working out character history in my head. The novel was constantly in my head. Now nothing. I even forgot the title. I am a bad mother to my novel. I'll have to make it up somehow, maybe pay for its punctuation fees or even donate more pages.

I have an idea for a short story but at the moment the character is still not wanting to interact. He wants to still in his cramped flat and make me write descriptions about his life. He won't budge from his threadbare armchair. I am going to have to roll up my sleeves with this one and show him who is boss.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Oh Comely Magazine

I don't like women magazines. There, I have said it. Shock horror. I don't care about the latest red-carpet dresses or the best way to smack on make up or even the hottest celebrity gossip (I have Yahoo news for that, don't you know it is the best!). I don't find women magazines to be confidence boosters but more confidence crushers. This is why Oh Comely Magazine fills the void. The bi-monthly magazine is about quirks, exploring new things and people's creativity. The magazine is full of gorgeous photographs and compact essays. I especially liked the article in issue two by Ellie Phillips, Plan b. The article talks about finding a balance between the creative life and paying the bills. Sometimes you need a job to fund the creativity or even a motivator. I wonder if I would write more if I didn't have a job or would I use the time to do chores, reading and internet stalker rather than be more prolific with my writing. Plus, if I were to be a full-time writer then I would definitely need a chaise-lounge and a typewriter.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Creative Habit

I am currently reading a great book by Twyla Tharp called 'The Creative Habit.' I highly recommend this book about the creative process. Tharp might be a choreographer but the principles are still the same, when searching for ideas. My favourite quote at the moment:

"That is why you scratch for little ideas. Without the little ideas, there are no big ideas.... Remember this when you're struggling for a big idea. You're much better off scratching for a small one." 
I have this written in my notebook and keep reading over it at the moment. I am struggling with a short story idea - I have my character and a situation but they just don't want to mix at the moment. I am either writing too much character description and not enough action. But I just need to keep working at the little idea and will eventually find the bigger idea.