One of my short stories didn’t make it in a competition recently, and all it seems to take is one teensy weeny rejection for me to think everything I write is utter crap. Writing is such a strange thing – there are no laurels on which to rest; you are only as good as the last thing you wrote, and if that was rejected then forget past success – everything in the entire world is rubbish.
Rejection reverts me into my sulky teenage self – I want to paint the walls black and listen to Pink Floyd.
When I’m in this mood, I am desperate for distractions. I tweet; I youtube old music videos; I research into the tiniest thing; I read. And then when I have nothing written, it is not ‘my’ fault that I didn’t write – it was the distractions what did it! They are to blame, those pesky shiny things just a click away, not me. It’s funny how the subconscious works.
The worst thing about rejection is how everything crashes down, the fragile house of cards that I seem to construct around each story, and then reality whacks me in the face with a soggy slipper. Everything in my life suddenly seems crystal clear, and not in a good way. It paves the way for the inner critic, the Aunt Aggie’s of the world, and hands them a free license and a mega-phone. For a few days I listen in stupefied silence – yes, I can’t write; no, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life; yes, I agree that’s rubbish; no, I don’t have a clue how I’m going to change things. The inner critic will take this chance to have a pop about everything – not just my writing, but the way I look, what I wear – it’s a sort of horribly gleeful internal scourging that is as painful as it sounds.
But then I’ll wake up and look at the world outside the window, the sun and the trees, and think, oh well. That was yesterday. Today is brand new. Anything can happen. And so my first card will be erected, and then another and another, and eventually I’ll have a new house of cards, and a new bit of writing.
Remind me next time to use superglue!