Rejection

This year one of my NY resolutions was to submit a new piece of writing for publication each month. It has to be a new piece that I send off, so if a previous month’s submission gets rejected, when I next send it out it doesn’t count toward my sub for the month. So at the moment I have three pieces doing the rounds (yes, I have had one accepted, yay, but more on that closer to the publication date).

This means for the first time in a long time I’m getting lots of rejections again. The funny thing is that I’m not taking the rejections personally anymore. I just tick it off on my spreadsheet and move on (well, if I’m honest there are about five parameters collected on my spreadsheet and there may be some auto-graphing, but that’s just my Excel OCD).

I think one of the reasons I’m better able to cope with the rejection is the thick skin my writers group has calloused upon me. In my current group we each submit every month. This means a) I must write something every month, and b) I’m used to people giving me feedback on my stuff, not all of it good!

I’ve heard stories of people who fall apart when they get a critique of their story because the reader didn’t love every word. They completely blank the positive feedback and focus on the bad bits (these really are opportunities to make your story the best it can be and should be embraced). I hate to think how they must react when they get a form rejection with no explanation.

There is so much about being a writer that has nothing to do with writing, and I think accepting rejection and criticism is a big part of it. After all, even if you get a publisher who LOVES your story, there will always be people who read your stuff and write horrible reviews, or feel the need to tell the world why they think you should go back to your day job.

I don’t know if I’m ready to embrace the level of rejection and criticism that published novelists get, but thanks to my writers group I know I’m a lot closer to being ready.

Happy Easter

Whenever the Christian festivals roll around I always feel a bit older and crotchetier. Easter particularly brings this out in me. I’m not a strongly Christian person, but it offends me on behalf of those who do strongly believe when hot cross buns come out in January. I think it is wrong when I see kids walking around the supermarket eating Easter eggs three months before Easter.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I got inundated with toy catalogues in the past four weeks. Apparently the health conscious parent should not give their child chocolate eggs at Easter, they should give toys. Seriously?!? How about you give them an egg? Hard boiled. They can paint it.

We all love to watch the excitement of children going on an Easter egg hunt, but where is that excitement if they have been eating chocolate eggs all year? Are we not capable of a little self control? We already eat non-seasonal food artificially grown or imported from thousands of miles away. Can we really not go without chocolate eggs and hot cross buns for 10 months of the year?

Regardless of your beliefs, I think the religious holidays are a good time to consider your faith, to explore your spirituality and get in touch with a side of you that is not about work or homemaking.

I hope this Easter you get to share quality time with those you love, and look into yourself and find peace with who you are and your place in the world. And yes, you can eat the hot cross buns and chocolate eggs now.

Synchronicity

I’m currently reading a book on synchronicity, or the coincidences in your life which are there to help you on your way, or teach you a lesson. The idea is that coincidences are always there for a reason (or as Dean Koontz often says, there are no coincidences), so when you happen across them, then you know that the universe is trying to tell you something so you should listen.

I’ve known about synchronicity for a long time, and I have always been open to the idea, but I hadn’t been dazzled by it recently. So I borrowed this book to remind me of the exercises I’m ‘meant’ to do to open myself to being able to recognise when synchronicity is occurring.

The day I borrowed the book I had two unrelated people talk to me about synchronicity. They both brought the subject up without any prompting from me. The next day I got home and thought I should make a healthy salad for dinner, but all I could be bothered with was oven fries. The oven wouldn’t turn on! So I made the salad and felt really good. The book was working already.

I love synchronicity, I love the thrill when it unfolds in front of you, but it does raise so many questions, not least of which is am I not where I want to be because I’ve been too dopey to recognise the opportunities that were manifesting to move me along, or (worse still) am I exactly where I should be according to the universe?

So maybe when I start sending out the novel that will somehow help humanity, then the universe will jump on board and make it fall into the hands of the editor who loves it in the publishing house which is looking for exactly that book. Sounds like a lot of coincidences, but I guess that’s what synchronicity is all about.

Damaged goods?

I was reading an instructional book on writing and in the introduction it stated that all writers are damaged. Even the funniest or most romantic books are written by people with pain in their past.

Now it is not that I take offense, in many ways I agree with the premise, probably many (most/all) writers are carrying around a little bit of darkness from their childhood. What I found odd about the statement is that it makes it sound like writers have cornered the market, but I would argue everybody is a little damaged.

Not everyone was beaten as a child (or worse), not everyone suffered the loss of a parent/sibling/loved one, but then again not all writers have either. We all live by our own yardstick, so our own injustices and sorrows are significant to us, ergo they are all damaging. I think you don’t realise how well off you have things until they get worse, only then does your measure of pain gets recalibrated.

I think writing might be a coping mechanism for many (most/all) writers, but just one of many, and for many they wouldn’t even realise it is serving this function. Other people might choose therapy, focused achievement, denial, drugs or controlling behaviours. Writers can choose these things too.

I don’t think it is the damage that turns us into writers; I think writers are the kinds of people for whom writing helps us get past our damage.