We all find ourselves in the dreaded dip from time to time, unsurprisingly the pressure of a new year and new goals is enough to send the most sturdy writer over the edge… so I have put together this motivational post just for you.
Remember pursuing a writing career is a guarantee you will face rejection, find projects stall and possibly feel no confidence in your ability. But remember this is what you want to do, this is what you live for, this is enjoying work on those good days in a way you never could before. For those times when your world is rocking, it is all worth it and all part of this path you have chosen.
The best way to deal with it is to learn the tricks, keep the dream alive and know even the greatest feel this way from time to time.
Rejection is not personal
Sometimes maybe the writing wasn’t up to scratch but more often than not it doesn’t fit alongside accepted work, may not be the taste of a particular editor, may be too similar to work which has already been published/accepted.
The main thing is – rejection – means you are submitting your work, which is an achievement in itself. If the writing is good it will find a place eventually and sometimes that place is a better match than the place you initially sought acceptance from.
It won’t make it hurt any less, but it is normal. Normal to be rejected and normal to feel a bit dejected by it.
I do not reward myself when I get writing accepted, unless you count mentally doing the happy dance, but I do commiserate myself when I read a rejection.
Do something that refocuses or lifts you for a while. Go for a walk, read a chapter of a book (if you can still bear to hold one in your hands), try a few relaxation exercises, watch a comedy show, or even eat cake. Do something that makes you feel better. Just something between 10-30 minutes just to get your mindset shifted.
The best thing is to send something else out there (as long as your writing is ready) a flight of new hope, then move on.
Of course you know the actual submission deadline. We all miss them from time to time (learn to forgive yourself and let go). In Life Coaching* we always break goals down into smaller steps. Each chunk needs a deadline. These skills can be transferred to how you work as a writer.
*I qualified as a Life Coach in 2007.
Allocate enough writing time to achieve your goals. Yes! I am well aware there is never enough writing time and few of us are lucky enough to fulfil a full-time writing career, but every dream needs commitment otherwise it is just a wish/ wishy washy.
So take yourself seriously and allow it.
Give priority to your writing time.
Speaking of time…
Discover when the best time for your writing is. I tend to be best early in the morning both at the beginning of the day before lunchtime and now at 1 AM in the morning.
I organise my writing day so I am actually producing at my optimum times and fit the admin tasks and chores and everything else into the time that my writing brain isn’t in prime working mode.
We are all different. It takes a while to find out what is the best time for you, but it is worth bearing it in mind.
Note: A few hours before deadline is really not the best time for quality writing/editing.
Once you know when to write you can learn how to write. Allowing yourself 1 hour can be more productive than allocating an entire afternoon. Some people work in blocks of 25 minutes ‘The Pomodoro technique’, I tend to find that I need longer to write but I do take my breaks to do other things in blocks of 20 minutes.
Mr G. used to laugh at my TO DO LISTS as they would always have wash hair, breakfast etc. on them. He knew these were not things I would forget to do. I explained they enabled me to tick something off before 10 AM.
My lists have come a long way since then, I rarely put shower/hair on them anymore. They will include a little box of chores that need attention to make sure I do not get too lost in the admin and the writing and there is an important point. It no longer amazes me, but for years it did – the amount of admin a writer has. You could easily fill whole days without actually getting any writing done and so when you are scheduling your time allow yourself the discipline of actually writing. I used to work on a laptop that didn’t recognise we have Internet.
Nowadays I am better on focusing on one job at a time and avoiding social media/internet distractions (don’t judge me, but I never needed the LOLCats).
What alchemy is this? The magic of lists. I simply write 2 or 3 things at a time that need to be completed and keep adding. If you write a long list of everything your brain will freak out at the sight of it and this is not good for creativity and free flowing thoughts.
Plan your time and reward yourself.
From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2014
From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2017
From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2016