Personal Life, Reading, Rejection, Viable Paradise

Summer Reading, Happy Rejection, and Heat Waves

summerreadingJust started my pre-VP summer reading, and after a “quick” trip to the library, I have five novels by VP instructors, plus another that I already owned (and am currently reading). Four others are on order from other branches of the library. And this is the “first wave.” Short stories aren’t included in this list, since so many are available online now, but I’ll be reading those, too. This will be no “light” summer reading, but a “heavy” reading load. But I’m diving in, eager for the challenge. And the fun! (Books I have to read? YAY! “Sorry I can’t do those dishes now, I have to read…”)

Over the weekend, I got an email rejection. Well, yeah, no surprise there. But … this rejection came from a pro-paying market. And it was personal!!! Very personal, in that my little story had made it to the final round of consideration before falling to the wayside. I’d be on the roof dancing like a maniac if the story had made it into this publication, but I’m still pretty ecstatic that I got (let me say it again) a personal rejection from a pro market! I had to try to explain to a non-writing friend why I was so happy with a rejection (waves at friend, who reads this blog). I guess some things are mysteries to non-writers, and always will be, the way the workings of my microwave will remain to me. (Yes, I could go read up on it, but really, I just want my butter melted. Fast.)

And then there was the weekend. A lovely, long weekend away, filled with too much fun and good food. But travel makes one fractious, so I was looking forward to being home and taking a nap after we landed Sunday morning in Newark Int’l. The temperature there was between 97 and 99°F. When we got home, we discovered that, sometime during our absence, the AC had broken. Inside it was 84…85…86°F. We called the maintenance supervisor and left for a late lunch and a trip to the (blissfully air-conditioned) bookstore and mall. Whew. So much for that nice cool nap. Still, there is such a thing as “loaner” window AC units at our complex, and those things brought out apartment (which topped out around 88°F) back to bearable by bedtime. The repairman came today, and lo!–the outside temps plummet, and now it’s raining. Still and all, I’m glad to have the AC back in working order. It facilitates my reading 🙂  Speaking of which, gotta run. Books to read, you know.


Facing Writing Fears

Unnamed Fears can paralyze writing

“Crunch time” is here for those of you celebrating Christmas. Hanukkah holidays are at the fever pitch. Solstice is here, along with the darkest days, making shopping or even just leaving work a dark affair. Soon will come the new year, and a chance to rest. Whew! I can’t wait.

Despite my earlier post about “Butt in Chair,” I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like. Or need. The creeping doubts have returned, niggling at the corners of my mind, telling me if I were “a real writer,” I’d be writing 2000 words a day, every day, holidays or no. Ergo, I must not be a “real writer.”

Sarah Hans’s latest post has a similar theme. She’s feeling pressure to top, or at least match, her latest success, which is her first story in a pro market. And over at Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast site, Mur talks about Imposter Syndrome, or that feeling that “the whole world will soon figure out what a fake I really am.”

So, what is it about right now that has so many writers shaking in their shoes?

Yeah, the economy is stinky, and most markets don’t pay diddly. And yeah, the holidays are here, so ‘interviews’ with relatives–or the fear of those interviews–makes many of us gun-shy. After all, is there anything worse than ‘dear Aunt Martha’ or ‘snappish brother Egan’ asking in ‘that tone of voice,’ “When are you going to start doing something worthwhile with your time. Something that will make some money?”

But for me, it’s more than that. I’ve been stepping up my writing involvement. This blog is one step on that path. It’s connected me to many others, and that’s changed me, too. Over at Sue Healy’s blog, I learned about launching ships, her metaphor for sending out stories for publication, or rejection. And I’ve decided to increase the number of ‘ships’ I have at sea because of thinking on this. For me, that’s a big commitment, a serious ‘act of faith’ that I will succeed, and a letting go of control.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Clarion and Clarion West, and whether or not I should apply. Talk about commitment! I’m not sure if I’m crazy-good or crazy-insane for even thinking about it! Am I ready? Will I ever be? What if I’m not accepted? What if I am?!? It’s another source of fear.

What it all comes down to is that Imposter Syndrome, or fear of rejection. Personal rejection. Fear of failure painting me as a failure, not just my work. Combined with lack of sleep, holiday stress and dark-day depressions, well, it’s amazing any of us get any writing done at all!

So, after the holidays are done and you think about the new year, I hope you’ll join me in congratulating yourself for all the things you did right in 2011. Celebrate all your victories, however small. Let the fear in, then let it go. It isn’t you. Remember, we write not for the money, or the glory (thank goodness!), but because we enjoy it.

Then, let yourself enjoy some writing.


It Just Shouldn’t Happen

OK, so last month, just before my writers’ group meeting, I got two emailed rejections on the same day. That was a major bummer. And, it was a Sunday! Who knew magazines even sent rejections on Sundays?

Well, I got over it. And it’s a month later, another writers’ group meeting on the way. But now, this is tough. It was my birthday, and as so often happens on birthdays, mortality was slipping around my shoulders like a good friend, whispering in my ear that it’s all over, I’m all washed up and old and useless. So I check my email, looking for some good news to cheer me up…and I find a rejection.

Now, this email came from the senior editor. That’s good news! And, she offered praise for my writing, said she liked my voice and style. That’s excellent news! And she said to submit again. That’s like heaven, coming from the senior editor at a magazine I greatly admire.

But all I could see was the rejection. It just shouldn’t happen on one’s birthday. Not when all the defenses are down. I don’t think I had enough wind left in me to blow out one birthday candle, let alone all those that should decorate my cake (good thing that part was already done).

My pity-party is over now. The story is back out in circulation, looking for a home. I’m sure I will be published in said magazine — now I’m really determined to break in. And what a celebration that will be! It’s not often you get to spit in Mortality’s eye.