Other beginning writers a frustrated creative people, I’m talking to you.
There comes a point where too much perspective is a bad thing.
I just read a Facebook post from a fellow writer swooning with excitement over having a story accepted by a magazine from which I recently received a (cold, impersonal, form) rejection.
This fellow writer also happens to be my literary nemesis. That is not to say that I harbor any ill-will toward this individual. In fact, said writer is kind, sweet, and very friendly. Also, much younger than me and mind-bogglingly talented. So not really a nemisis at all. I just like the word.
The usefulness of a literary nemesis, however, cannot be stressed enough. Whenever I am tempted to not write today, or can’t be bothered to edit a manuscript or meet a deadline, I only have to check in on my nemesis and see where slacking off doesn’t get you.
Writing is being published all the time (with annoying frequency by my nemesis), from people who are much better than I am and from people who are arguably not as talented. So many factors come into play when a story crosses the desk of an editor or slush-pile reader: quality, style, tone, even subject matter, especially if the publication has just put out a story based on a similar premise.
I go into all this as a reassurance for myself at an uncertain point in my own writing career, and also as a reminder to all my creative friends. Art is subjective. Some people will get you, and some won’t. You’ll have those high-as-a-kite moments of acceptance, but the in-between times can feel like a barefoot trudge through the Dead Marshes (you know, just on the outskirts of Moria).
The proper perspective can save you from a nose-dive into the aforementioned Dead Marshes.
Remember, sometimes the trudge is all there is. It’s the only way to get to your worthy goal. The trudge is part the process, and on occasion I have to remind myself how much I love the process. Even when the landscape looks dreary, there’s something there to see that makes it worthwhile. What you get from it depends on how you look at it.
Now, back to outlining my new book!
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