What do you do on the dog days of writing? I'm not talking about the actual creative process, although that can sometimes be pretty tough. I'm talking about those days when your writing isn't good enough.
I'm sure every writer has been there. Sometimes, it's self-rejection. Nothing you do seems to work - that word here, that phrase there - it's all awkward or contrived or just plain stupid. You end up hitting the "delete" key for everything. And that's pretty rough.
But what's even worse than beating yourself up? Well, it's worse when everyone else beats you up.
Usually, rejection of a piece of writing isn't the end of the world to me. After all, I've been writing for years now and faced a lot of rejection. However, sometimes a bad day coincides with a bad writing day. A day when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and then it all goes downhill from there. You open your mailbox, and there is the email you've been waiting for! Finally, that editor or agent or publisher will tell you how much they love your writing and that they can't wait to work with you!
Except it's not an acceptance. It's a rejection. It's confirming everything that voice in the back of your head has been saying for years - you know the one, the one that tells you that you're not good enough, that you'll never be good enough for the big time. That everything up until this point has been a fluke. It's saying that voice was right.
And then your email pings again. And again. Suddenly, the messages are rolling in. And they all say the same thing: Not Good Enough.
On days like this, I wish I had the luxury of crawling back into bed. But three kids makes that sort of impossible. So I guess I'll do what everyone else has to do - suck it up. And try to avoid my initial reaction of, "Why the heck am I still doing this?"
I don't have these days very often, but when I do, they hit hard. I do know this won't last forever, and I'll soon be back to my usual writerly pursuits. But, until then, I will figuratively pull the covers over my head and hope for a better tomorrow.
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with nearly a hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. When not writing, I'm the Book Reviews Editor for the magazine Bewildering Stories. If the Walking Dead isn't on, I draw pictures and do origami meditation in Connecticut, where I live with my family. If the Walking Dead is on... shhhh! The Walking Dead is on! For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
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