Wednesday, August 26, 2015
A Pep Talk For Writers
Most of you have probably seen this delightful comic strip of our favorite writer. Snoopy has no qualms in letting the editor know just what he thinks. Note how polite he is in his letter of complaint. No ranting or raving, just a gentle reminder to the editor that he must have misunderstood Snoopy's intention.
We chuckle when reading Snoopy's letter but step back a minute and take note of the really important part of what this tells us. Snoopy has a positive attitude.
I've written many times about the importance of a writer maintaining a positive attitude. Writers live in a whirlpool of rejection so it's not all that easy to keep a happy face. Round and round we go with more rejections than acceptances. Someone remarked that writers all have a masochistic streak; they must like being told NO over and over. I can assure you that it's a rare writer who enjoys rejection.
With more rejections than successes, frustration sets in and often swells. We're disappointed. We're sometimes angry. We're hurt.
But when an editor contacts us with an offer to publish our submission, we change our attitude in a hurry. What a great feeling. We can push away all those rejection emotions for awhile. We ride on a cloud as we savor the moment. Even if the editor isn't offering us $50,000 as Snoopy hoped for.
Then the inevitable happens. The rejections begin to roll in again. It's the natural rhythm of the writers' world. When you're up, then down, and repeating the same all the time, it's not easy to keep that positive attitude.
The thing I feel is most important is to believe in yourself. Believe in your ability as a writer. If you don't believe in yourself, you can't expect others to do so. You're the one who must lead the way. Don't let the whirlpool suck you down farther and farther. Swim out of it with a positive attitude.
I know that it's easier for me to tell you this than for you to accomplish it. I've been there many times myself. I know that you don't find a positive attitude once and that's it for life. Uh-uh! It would be nice but it's not the way it works. We must keep finding and refinding that positive attitude. Once you have done it, you'll find it easier each time you're feeling down and out because your writing life isn't going the way you planned.
You're still going to get rejections for some of your submissions--maybe for the majority--but if you've worked on your attitude, you will probably handle them better. You'll step back and look at the submission with an objective eye, then revise it and try again.
A key to all of this attitude business is to continue to believe in yourself as a writer. If any of what I've said today resonates with you, please share it with other writers you know.