Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Writers are Sad

Ever feel like giving up your pursuit of being published? Maybe Charlie Brown is feeling the same way? After all, how many times have he and Snoopy chased the golden ring of being a published author? How many rejections can one guy--or dog--handle? Or you?

Hundreds, thousands and maybe even millions of people dream of being a writer.Fewer actually pursue the writing dream after they realize that it's hard work. The prize at the top of the long staircase leading to success is being published somewhere. Anywhere! Many would-be writers start out wearing those rose-colored glasses that make things look so appealing. The problem is that there are very few writers who meet with instant success. I'm guessing it's actually a miniscule number who hit it big right away.

New writers read and hear about writers who were rejected multiple times before their novel was published and hit the bestseller list. They know that rejection is part of the writing game. Knowing what it is and experiencing it can be two different things. Especially when the rejections come rolling in as fast as the submissions go out. Being rejected again and again wears a writer down bit by bit. So what do you do when things aren't going well?

Pour yourself your favorite drink--be it coffee, tea, coke, or beer or whatever--and take a full step back from your writer shoes. You need to look at yourself as objectively as possible. And that's not an easy task. Ask yourself the following questions, then answer as honestly as you can.

1.  How serious am I about pursuing publication?

2.  How many submissions do I make per month?

3.  How much time do I give to my writing?

4.  Do I try writing exercises on a regular basis?

5.  Do I edit and revise more than once before I submit?

6.  Do I seek out others to critique my work?

7.  If I ask others to critique my writing, do I accept their assessment with the attitude that they are trying to help me be a better writer?

8.  Do I take the advice of other writers when it's offered?

9.  Do I put a lot of effort into searching for markets that fit the kind of writing I do?

10.  Do I read books/magazines about writing on a regular basis?

11.  Do I attend an occasional writing conference to learn about my craft and talk to other writers?

12.  Do I truly try to practice new things I learn about the craft of writing?

13.  Or, do I stay with my old way of doing things because it's comfortable and makes my life easier?

14.  Can I see growth in myself as a writer, or have I stayed stuck in the beginner mode?

15.  Do I have a passion for writing, or is it a whim?

I could go on with an even longer list, but answering these 15 questions as honestly as you can will give you a ver good idea as to what may be the reason your work is not being accepted for publication. It may let you know if you want to soldier on or move on to some other interest in your life. A lot depends on how driven you are, how hard you're willing to work, and how much time you can afford.

If you feel like chucking the whole idea of being a writer, maybe a little break is needed. Maybe a heart to heart chat with a good friend, preferably a writer friend, would help. When we feel down, it's sometimes difficult to see the positive aspects as we wallow through the negatives.

Last but not least--let me assure you that you're not alone. I think most writers go through periods when they question themselves, when they are ready to give up, when they hold a pity party for one. One of the best cures is even a tiny bit of success. It seems to wipe out all those sad feelings. But remember that, to achieve that tiny bit of success, you have to put in a good deal of hard work.

If you love to write and still haven't been published, keep working at it. If you do all you can to grow as a writer, you are most likely going to achieve your goal. Maybe not the Pulitzer Prize right off the bat, but publication somewhere. I'll be the first one in line to cheer for you when it happens!

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