Monday, March 29, 2010

Writing: This week in Revelling in Rejection

Since I started this blog a few days ago, I haven't laid down my Modus Operendi, or even why I've come to writing.

I will lay down a post some time about "Why I want to be a writer, and why I took so damn long to get started". However, this post is more a "get up to speed", the first of my "Revelling in Rejection" which I will post, hopefully at least week once a week. It's to keep me honest and focused. Before, I used to think talking about rejection and failure would make me feel like monkey arse, but right now I'm kind of gleeful - how many rejections can I rack up before I make my first professional sale?

Because it will happen. My motto is: It's only a matter of time.

The month of March came as a bit of a surprise to my motivation (or lack thereof). For years I've been bemoaning the fact (to myself) that I don't have the right circumstances to get writing - I don't have the right writing nook (I now do, and have had for 4 years); I don't have the privacy (now got a divider wall in the office). What it came down to was - I needed the TIME. My day job exhausts me mentally, and I find it very hard to sit down and spend another 4 hours in a day writing once I've dealt with the distractions of the real world.

So as the end of the financial year approached, I had the opportunity to use up leave I've had saved up for some time. At first it was "I'll take a Month of Mondays off and sleep in". Then I thought "Stuff that for a waste of time. What could I REALLY do with a full, quiet day to myself?". In the end it was "Suck it up woman! Do what you've been saying you'll do all this time!"

So for the last 5 weeks (minus the Monday I was recovering/travelling back from Lady Gaga's show), I have been writing. And sucking it up even further to actually SUBMIT. I've been saying to myself for quite some time "Things to do before you turn 40: Submit to publication!" I did that in my first week.

Of course it's ALL a learning experience. Even a few weeks into the process I realize what silly noobie mistakes I made. Lesson One? READ THE DAMN SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. I was getting all excited and breathless, and not reading hard enough - MS set up, and style of magazine have been my 2 failures so far I believe.

As it stands, I have had two rejections on "Piece One". The first rejection came with some fantastic feedback from the editor - what more could a noobie want (apart from that unicorn of a sale on first submission) - which helped me hone another draft. Second rejection of P1 came within TWELVE HOURS of submission. Ugh. Gotta love the ease of electronic subs, but wow. Ouch. While no feedback there, I think my failure came from not realizing the G status of the mag (ie: P1 has a dirty bit, albeit very small). Currently on a third submission, P1 actually made it through "step one" of a three step process. So not outright rejection from the slush, I'll be quite OK if that's as far as it gets there - it's a start!

Piece Two is currently still on it's first submission, and has been for three weeks. I'm a believer in "the longer it takes them to get back to me, the more they're considering it!"

Another thing I've done this month is test drive a membership at the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. I believe it will certainly help with my grammar and a few of the writing tools I'm a bit rusty on, I just have to remember every reader is different! It's quite amusing that, despite their good intentions, some of my reviewers have tried to Suck All That Is Good out of my submissions ie: not getting the social awareness of a piece, or killing the punchline. Why try to overexplain a character or scene - where's the challenge for the reader in that? Why do you need everything laid out for you as a reader? I ENJOY being challenged as a reader.

I don't expect anyone to be reading this blog (at least until I'm a rich and famous writer - snerk). It's also part of my motivation, making myself accountable. Even if I don't become JK Rowling (Sheeeyeah, right) or Shakespeare (forsooth), I can at least say I TRIED. And I gotta tell ya, trying is making me totally happy.

I'm gonna have to seriously consider negotiating more time away from work for my projects. One of those flexible lifestyle contracts, methinks.

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