A long way of saying

Hey everybody!

No flash fiction challenge today, or photos, or anything like that. Just some thoughts that I figured I’d jot down and send off into the ether. Part of why I want to be a writer is to help folks when they’re feeling down, let them know they aren’t alone, especially when it comes to fun things like anxiety or depression, so it really doesn’t do much good if I clam up when things get dark in my own brain spaces, even though the fact I can write about it at all means that I’m heading towards the light, so to speak.

I’ve been really down, on myself and my writing, for the last few weeks, and I hadn’t been able to figure out why. I’ve gotten a few rejections sure, but constant rejection really is part of being a writer. Rejections are the the tedious random encounters in a video game, the XP farming so you can level up to fight the boss. You take the hits as long as you can, go back to town and heal up, and then head back out, cheerfully ready for the thousands of paper cuts that build the scars that become your armor.

Which is a long winded way of saying, that’s not it. Rejections are a moment to revise, to create something new, to build up and go again. But every time I try to write anything, especially connected to a specific story world, I get clogged up. I get a few hundred words, at most, and then I lose the thread for days. Random scraps of nothing. Then it hit me. The  last piece I got critiqued at a workshop. I’d like to say it got savaged (it didn’t). It’d like to say it was unfair (All the points against it were valid). Really, the story itself was fundamentally flawed, even though it’s some of the best prose I’ve written to date.

Doing my best and worst simultaneously cut deeper than any rejection. It poisoned not only that story, but the entire story world that I built around it. I became afraid. Afraid of ruining this thing I loved. So I’d false start and run away. I’d bury it deep, only pulling it back to the surface when the guilt of not writing anything overwhelmed me. Somehow that poisoned the act of writing itself, keeping me from being able to put anything into words at all. Every world in my head, barred from me with frosted glass, clear enough that I could see the shape of the things, but not be able to describe them.

This was when the rejections started to sting more, when the brain weasels got louder. Not only did a market not want my story, but they probably never wanted me to submit anything again (even though that was never mentioned in the polite form rejections). Every few days I’d decide that I should quit writing, and then I’d remind myself about Viable Paradise (hashtag humblebrag) and realize that I couldn’t quit until then, at the very least.

Oddly enough, now that VP is approaching, I’ve felt the urge to quit stronger than ever. Not good enough. Imposter. Failure. Brain weasels working double time. But then I start thinking about NaNoWriMo, and cracks start to form at the edges of the glass barrier. I can see the shapes of things again, of the worlds I want to write.

I’m not writing right any prose for the next few days, and that’s ok (especially since I’m super-congested and feel like I’m heading towards a sinus infection that needs to be gone in a week). I’m tossing aside the guilt. I’ll go to VP20, I’ll reset, and I’ll come back strong.

My brain, when it’s working properly, is wired to work towards goals. VP is one, NaNo another, and there’s a writer’s conference next year in Dallas that offers a pitch meeting w/ an agent or editor, and that seems like the kind of thing to kick my ass in gear for the next few months.

Which is a long way of saying that I’ll be at DFWCon2017 😛

I know this a long and rambling and I complain about problems that don’t really measure up to much in the grand scheme of things, but damnit, I kinda needed to get this out there. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, it helps you out somehow, even if it just lets you say that you’ve got your shit together better than someone (me).

Peace, love, and cough medicine,

— FGY

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One thought on “A long way of saying

  1. I applaud your bravery in writing this post, Fred. Not only does it do you some good, but it helps others like myself who go through these black periods. Writing can be our salvation or our tormentor, and sometimes it’s both. I’m not sure I could put myself through the endless cycle of writing, editing, polishing, submitting, waiting, getting rejected, starting again. I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve gone down the self-publishing route. One thing I’ve found after putting in a lot of energy into email list building is that you gain one or two followers who really dig your work and offer support and encouragement at just the right time. It acts as an antidote to seeing your book languishing on Amazon, or only 20% of your list opening emails! I can certainly vouch for the quality of your work, and your most recent postings have indeed shown a great maturity and quality in your prose. This is to be valued very highly as a bedrock, even if things like plot structure and world-building need more development. I’ve recently read a lot of stories and books that have great premises and original plots, but the writing is so limp that I can’t put myself through finishing them. You have that gold dust which is vibrant description, engaging characterisation and narrative that possesses a rhythm and poetry. So cling to these, keep producing the stuff and know that your journey is taking you places.

    Liked by 1 person

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