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Highs, lows, blah di blah

I felt fairly chipper yesterday. A couple of things happened that made me feel a bit happy. Writing related things that made me feel part of something, as if I’m not being delusional about wanting to be a writer. That’s one of my big fears, deluding myself. I try to be honest with myself, you know, pat on the back when I think I’ve done well, slap round the chops when I’m slacking off. When I was young everyone I knew was in a band. My best friend is an amazing singer, my husband is a mega talented drummer, my other buddies included the worlds greatest bass player, a lot of guitarists, some keyboardists, and a fair smattering of vocalists too. And I was always the audience. I never wanted to be up there on stage with them, always knew that writing was my thing. Lots of them were really talented. Others were tragic. Really, truly shit, but they thought they were awesome, strutting about bloated with self importance. I would look at them, and tell myself that I was never ever to start to think I was something I am not.
I still check myself now. Am I any good? I dunno. Sometimes I think yes, other times I’m very fragile and think I’m just another one of those foolish wannabes.
Anyway, last night, I was fairly whoo hoo. Then today I got a reject. I hate the whole subbing, hoping, judging process. When a piece is out it can be a wonderful time. It feels buzzy because I have been proactive enough to get off my fat butt and sub. There is hope in the air. Dreams. And an acceptance is a beautiful validating thing. It says, yes, you do have something, yes this is good. Then come the rejections. Sometimes they are nothing more than a moments disappointment. Sometimes they sting a little. The one I got today shook me though. The writing I sent is good. It has been judged highly in the past. It is my best. People have said very positive things about it. It didn’t even make a long shortlist. There weren’t that many entries, and it didn’t make the grade. I feel stupid, embarrassed, and to be truthful, I guess a tiny voice inside is asking if I am like one of those kids with my guitar, making a public fool of myself.

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6 responses »

  1. Hi Sara, I just wanted to say, I understand. Been there. Will be there again. It happens and happens and happens. But I try and persuade myself that the acceptances would never be as sweet if the rejections weren’t so bitter. And the more you send out, the less each one stings. Sort of. But it does. Sting. You know this story is good. And it is good. It just didn’t speak to this one judge of this one competition. Maybe for all sorts of personal reasons. Maybe because this judge likes stories that are happy, or something or other, or just because of the kind of day this judge had when she/he read your story.That’s why I send less stuff to comps and more to regular submissions. Different process, minds are more open, more generous. Send it out again. Go on.

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  2. I think you should start a band immediately. It should be called The Rejects. You’ll play to sell out crowds in venues with a capacity of 46. You’ll be kicking around the underground scene for a year or maybe ten before the literary equivalent of Steve Lamacq tracks you down.You’ll be a shocking star overnight and when they interview you – you can cite the knockbacks and failures that have made you the person you are today.It’s going to be brilliant. I’m looking forward to it already.xx

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  3. Tell the tiny voice to shut the hell up (and I will tell mine to do the same). No giving up. You’ve already decided that you’re going to go at it, and you’re going at it strong and honest and beautiful (which is awesome), and if you think, in the end, that you did make a fool out of yourself (and I doubt it) – at least you tried, really tried. Stories were weaved; Ideas were conceived; You enjoyed the hell out of it. Most people don’t even come close to accomplishing such things. Most people just let their dreams float on by. Bye Bye Dreams. You are a writer. I see it clearly. It shines in luminous beams out of your ears and nostrils and eye sockets (and it’s quite lovely – not freaky – and very bright seeing as I can see the beaming talent and you’re in the UK and I’m across the Atlantic in Indiana). Tania is right – competitions are built on whims and short, choppy conversations (if conversations should even ensue between judges) sometimes over beers or over-priced wine. With editors, it’s only a matter of opinion for the passing moment. Everybody will NOT love your writing. This is fact. Meanwhile, you can focus on finding an awesome spot with your own set of groupies and being a kick-ass rock star/fiction writer queen among them (I’m in). That is not so bad, is it? 😉

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  4. You are all gorgeous. Thank you.I am so grateful for your support.X

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  5. I am bloody late on this – as always. I hope that you are feeling better Sara. Remember that editors and judges have their own criteria for choosing work….it may hinge on something so small that makes sense to them but seems daft to us. As Tania said but it is so true. Their husband may have run off with a girl called Angela who may feature in your story. That sort of scenario.I have seen your work…would have loved to see you in the band! But your writing is good, passionate…it will find its way.Writerly hugs and when I feel blue I look at David Boreanz on my mousemat, Spike on my screensaver and smile. Only we lovers of things gothic get that!

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  6. Hi SaraJust catching up with this…I’m sorry you feel so bad. but perversely, I am not sorry it happened.(Don’t stop reading!)If I hadn’t learned to cope with reject after reject I would have stopped writing.It is that simple.I do not cope well with rejection anyway, – I have yet to meet any adopted child/adult who does – every time it happens it reminds me that life is based on the biggest rejection ever.But. Thanks to chipping away at it, by forcing myself to submit work as often as possible… by keeping those things coming in… accptances AND rejections, I learned how important it is to take the negatives on the chin.So I do. It still stings, and if they catch me in the wrong frame of mind, I still crumble. But only for five minutes. I dont give in easily, and neither, my dear, do you.bestV

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