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.