Yesterday, I had a crisis of confidence and didn’t get off the ground with my Nanowrimo novel. By “didn’t get off the ground,” I mean, “spent my allotted writing time surfing for new web series.” Crisis of confidence seems to have been caused by the latest in a string of rejection letters.
I try to have a good attitude about rejection letters. The truth is that the only way to be sure I won’t receive rejection letters is to leave my stuff unwritten or sitting in a drawer, which would be counterproductive to say the least. Writing and submitting stories for publication requires I perform a strange sort of mental misdirection on myself. I have to do my best to edit the story and make it as good and publishable as I can. Then I have to send it out and have no expectations about the result. A lot can go wrong between steps one and two.
What I realized yesterday is that I got steps one and two tangled up somewhere along the way. I’ve been learning a lot about revision and have been sending out stories more ambitiously. I’ve gotten some “good” rejection letters, too, where the editor has let me know my piece almost made it. That’s all great stuff. None of it means, however, that I can start having expectations about what the result will be when I send out a story–that seems to be the road to depression.
This morning, I did manage to start my novel, and had the experience that Nanowrimo always gives me. I got caught up in putting the words on the page. That’s the only remedy I know to the disappointment of rejection. A rejection letter means that my work won’t be published in some particular place. As far as writing itself? Nothing can stop me (except myself…).
Nanowrimo, with its relentless attention to the simple production of words, is a great wakeup call to me every year. It reminds me that I write for the joy of writing. I like getting published, absolutely, but I can’t allow the business side of things to distract me from the reason I do this in the first place.
I’m only 560 words in so far, which means I’m starting out behind–to stay on schedule, a novelist needs 3,334 words by the end of the day on November 2. Still, it’s nice to have things moving a little.