Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Fever. The Writing Round-up

Earlier this month, I posted a list of writing tasks on the large piece of styrofoam that is my cheap alternative to a real bulletin board. I stare at it every morning and finally, about two weeks ago, I started to work on it in earnest. May is almost here and many literary magazines do not accept submissions in the summer time.

So, in a burst of energy, and/or desperation, I chose four of the stories on the list, they were ones I had revised again. I gave them a final polish and sent them out. It's good to have things back out on the road.

I also drafted and revised an essay and submitted it to my favourite website because it was too long for all the magazines I investigated.

If the birds don't wake me up at 5:30, I hope to sleep in tomorrow. I haven't completed the whole list, but there are still a few days left in the month.

The round-up will continue in a day or two, if I still have spring writing fever and I hope I will.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Writing and Self-Confidence

I was thinking about writing the other day. Actually, I do quite a lot of thinking about writing, as opposed to actually getting down to work and writing. Anyway, I find that my confidence level is extremely variable.

I'm seldom happy with a first draft but by the time I finish a third draft, or somewhere in that vicinity, I think what I have is really good. If I'm feeling brave, I send it out. Yay for me and all that. By the time I get the rejection - which might be six months later - and look at the piece again, all I can see are the flaws, and there are always lots to see. I'll sneak in a music reference here. I might see the third or fourth draft as a symphony, or, at the very least, a good sonata, when I send it out. Then later (after those six months pass) when I have to look at again, it appears to be a very trite and unsaleable pop song.

It's hard to deal with these fluctuations in confidence. I hope I'm learning to be somewhat more objective. In some ways, I think I've progressed as a writer. I have learned its a long process and I have gained at least a little objectivity about my work. That's a continuing struggle though - as it probably is for everyone else who writes.

Perhaps a bit of early success temporarily spoiled me. It's all a balancing act. Nothing I write will ever be anywhere near perfect. I'm extremely aware of that but I also have to maintain a reasonable amount of belief in what I do, and be able to hear criticism and not cringe, and be able to sort out the just criticism from the less-than-just criticism. I'm working on that. I'll probably always have to work on that.

And speaking of work, I better get back to the fourth draft of one of my short stories.