Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group- 2nd Anniversay Post!

Today's amazing 2nd anniversary post is hosted, as always, by the truly amazing Ninja Captain Alex.  If you haven't stopped by his site first (which I assume you have, but just in case), go there right now!  He's got big news about IWSG!

Co-hosting this amazing anniversary edition are the equally wonderful Chemist Ken, SL Hennessey, Michelle Wallace and Joylene Nowell Butler.  Stop by, say thank you, scribble happy things on their post and let them know that they rock- cause they do!

And now, and I hate to do this after so much positivity, but I am a very, very insecure writer and this is the place to let myself fall apart a little.  So without further ado, my insecurities:

I’ve been dealing with a lot of rejection lately.  Not just from prospective publishers but from a whole bunch of potential employers.  Three phone interviews have led nowhere and I’ve got a couple of rejection e-mails from publishers in my inbox that I’m not sure what to do with.

All this, needless to say, is fueling a fire that already has a tendency to burn out of control.  “See?  You should’ve known better”  “What were you thinking?”  “Of course they don’t want you- why would they?”  It uses the evidence at hand to support its case and that little inner voice who normally jumps up to defend me struggles to counter it.

I’ve been fighting this for years- for as long as I’ve been alive, in some ways.  And although I’ve mostly given up on being judge, jury and executioner I still have a very active judge and jury in my head and they make some pretty convincing arguments.

On the good days, I can shut it down pretty quickly.  Those jumping flames of criticism are dampened by my will which I’ve nurtured and nourished over the years.  I keep plugging away at whatever it is I’m doing and tell myself that the sheer willingness to do that means I’ve won.  I remind myself of my past victories and how they came to me.  I listen to the supportive people around me and their voices drown out all those doubts and harsh words.

But on the bad days, the ones like yesterday, it gets much harder to defend myself.  My will isn’t as strong and that judge and jury could set the entire library of my ideas on fire like an angry mob.  I imagine a book burning in my head where my story ideas, dreams and hopes for the future get thrown onto the pyre with a chorus of destructive calls as a soundtrack.

I’m not as bad as I used to be- I have to remind myself of this.  I used to be able to tear myself down so thoroughly that even the support of friends and family couldn’t make a dent in the shell of self-hatred I enclosed myself in.  Now I don’t let myself get that far down- even on the bad days.  I do something else, distract myself, force myself to engage in another activity.  Action has always been my greatest defense against negative thinking simply because it forces me to think about something else.

But the will to try again- to submit another story, send out another application- that’s the key.  Because every story I write makes me a better writer.  Even if the story is terrible and leads nowhere- I learn, I grow.  And every application gets me one step closer to the one that will finally click- the magical combination of the right time, right company, right interview.  And every single time that I try again I dump a giant bucket over those flames of self criticism (and that judge and jury look pretty darned silly when they’re soaking wet!)

My friends and family help a lot with this.  Being gentle with myself helps a lot.  And you guys- boy do you all help a lot.  Because you are still writing.  And you struggle with self criticism, and rejection from publishers, and book deals pulled out from under you with no warning, and bad sales, and pressure, and doubt and everything else.  And you’re willing to share it all with me, and to keep writing.

I’m not worried about getting published right now- I’ve got a day job.  And staying at that day job a while longer won’t kill me so if it takes some time to find a better job that’s OK.  The most important thing for me is the ability to try again, to not give up in the face of rejection.  Because every time I do, I win.

Don't forget to stop by the full list and visit other bloggers.  I've got some new peeps to meet myself, and I'm sure they can use the support just as much as I can.


23 comments:

  1. I agree about being gentle with yourself and distracting yourself - I know it helps me when I do that. Hang in there! :)

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  2. The right job WILL happen. Those others weren't right anyway - look at it that way.
    We do tend to beat ourselves up better than anyone else. You know that, which is how you fight it.
    Keep fighting, Bev!

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  3. Writing is a journey of unbelievable rejection and criticism. I wonder why we do this to ourselves, but the rewards are so sweet, so inspiring when someone says they like what you've done. It makes all the negative fade into the background. Doubts will always invade, but you are an amazing writer! You'll make it, you've got the stick-to-it attitude but more importantly you've got the talent!

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  4. Beverly, I know rejections are very hard; they're devastating, but try to keep positive thoughts. Remember that the rejections are only one person's opinion. If they reject your work, it usually means it will be accepted by someone with a better proposal for you. If you can find some positive thoughts, it will more likely draw positive things to you.
    The only time you fail is if you give up on your dreams.

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  5. I'm sure you will find the job you want in the future. Keep writing and keep on keeping on.

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  6. The only way to guarantee failure is to quit trying.

    Keep at it! You're going to succeed eventually, and all of this will feel so worth it when you get there. ;)

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  7. I think you have the right attitude. You have to keep at it and take each rejection as a lesson. I have turned rejection into a will to work harder, but I also decided to self publish. Not sure if this is wise because now I am putting it in the readers hands to reject me. That might be worse. haha.

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  8. Thank you so much for the shout-out!

    And dear god, is rejection just the worst thing or what? And such a huge part of being a writer. We should have really thick skin, but most of us don't. I do what my agent suggested every time I get a rejection --- ice cream with a nice rum topping. It helps - kind of.

    But it really is worth it (I assume). So write on. Ignore those jerks who haven't yet recognized your brilliance. The day will come.

    Happy two years IWSG!

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  9. Oh rejection feels like a knife. I always have to remind myself that when I chose to pursue writing, I chose, in a sense, to feel rejection. I also remind myself that it means I'm trying and that's better than not even pursuing my dream. And for me, I always have to do a little self-talk and shove my ego out of the way. Bottom line, in my more honest moments, that's usually what's taking the hit.

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  10. Rejections can be nasty little things. Just hang in there Beverly and things will slowly start getting better. Hugs.

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  11. I don't have any sage advice but hang in there and keep writing.

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  12. The job market dance can get ridiculous, and it has nothing to do with your skill set, experience, demeanour, or anything else you can control. There will be a break.

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  13. Oh Beverly so sorry you are feeling low. I think most of us know exactly how you feel. For me some days are worse than others and I think it has a lot to do with what might be going on in my life at the time outside of writing. A rejection always hurts though but remember they are not rejecting you personally. Remember my saying from last month, "To be successful a writer needs two things. Belief and hope. Belief in themselves and their work and the hope that someone shares their belief." Keep writing and growing.

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  14. I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. Rejections are so tough and the job market can be such a nightmare. Good idea to be gentle with yourself! I agree with everything else, hang in there and keep writing. Take care!

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  15. Sending you extra big & tight hugs today! You have to keep your chin up. Hang in there. They only way for us to fail, is to give up. Keep on, keeping on. :D

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  16. I'm so sorry to hear of your insecurities, Beverly. If anything, please know that you are as valuable and precious as any other living being. We're all in this together, and by holding each other up, we reaffirm our connection. Like droplets of water, we may feel insignificant, but God doesn't see it that way. Yes, when that voice says something bad, please tell her to get lost.

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  17. I am hanging in there because I want to, I love writing, and I know that one day all of my notes and scribbles will have paid off. I have been super stressed about finding work....nothing in my area...everything on line and I know thousands applying for the same position. I always think it is my age...because they all have a place for your DOB! Ha Ha.....not giving up! Have been doing a lot of crocheting and knitting to keep the peace in my head. I wanted to tell you I visited all the host and co host blogs this morning/afternoon, and I really enjoyed Joylene's blog. She is a special person, and I plan to visit her blog again, much like yours....Alex of course! He is so full of so much information on his blog I could spend a whole day there. He does such wonderful work to help promote everyone that has published a book, or has one coming out. He is truly a remarkable person, and loves his work. Okay, thank you for being here for us newbies in writing land, your much appreciated! www.sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot.com

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  18. I just came by from IWSG, saw a reference to yours, and stuck my head in. Weathering rejections with any semblance of anything other than flat-out despair is an accomplishment. Hard-learned, too. I think the thing about being an insecure writer (as all of us are in this group) is that we hesitate to credit ourselves with being worthwhile writers. Works in progress, maybe - aren't we all? - but worthwhile. Sounds like you're doing OK (and I enjoyed your blog). I'm off to visit the Ninja Captain...

    And you can call my comment 'Squishy' - if your name is Dorey! ;)

    Diana at About Myself By Myself

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  19. It can be so difficult to silence that inner editor (or posse of editors, as it sounds like you're dealing with). I'm glad you've discovered ways of distracting yourself before you go too far down that negative road!

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  20. Doing the work is the most important part and I'm proud that you've stuck with it, Bev. Write, and let yourself fail, but fail to the end of the piece and figure out what went wrong. That's how we get better, by being mechanics of finished work. But we can't finish much if we play mechanic in advance.

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  21. The job market sucks right now. I was just talking to a friend about this very subject last night. We are both applying for jobs, and both employed in jobs we hate, but keep getting either NO response to applications, or rejections. It is tough, but each time you submit a new app, it is a ray of hope, too. Job hunting and querying are quite similar, really. It all comes down to that eternal question, "am I good enough?" Which, of course you are! It's all about keeping on keeping on until it all clicks, as you say. Good luck!

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  22. Rejection is hard to take, especially when you've put forth so much effort in landing something but as you mentioned, you can get back up and try again, as that will bring you closer to your job goal and publishing goal :)

    After facing rejections myself when submitting my work to film festivals, I know how you feel when you talk about questioning why you bothered at all. It's like each door closed makes it so much harder to go at it again. I guess, however, staying focused on those goals is the only way to see them come to fruition.

    We have to make it count because all we have it this one life. We owe it to ourselves to find out if we can get from point A to point B.

    Insecurity is tough to deal with; just remember that with each morning brings a whole new day with another opportunity to live it up!

    ~Nicole
    @MadlabPost

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Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!