I am at my computer taking a break from writing my CV and cover letters. I have sent them off to Big Al to proof read. They are in danish. So before I send them off, I need his feed back and corrections with regards to language fluency and clarity.
In the meanwhile I have been meandering on the net and ended up at one of my favourtie websites . I have seen Nalini Singh’s name alot and have been reluctant to try her out. This led me to her webpage where I found some really interesting stuff.
Here is her take on Motivation and staying motivated. Right now it applies to me and my job hunting stuff. I have been lecturing myself and propping myself. Telling me not to get knocked down and out after I get the rejection letters. ( a long long time ago, I thought there was a writer hidden in me.. instead I now think there is an editor in me.)
‘Believe’ is the title of one of my unpublished manuscripts which placed in the Clendon Award and got requested by several editors but didn’t sell. Why am I telling you this? Not because I love talking about myself but because it illustrates two things: (1) That I’ve never lacked faith in my work; and (2) That I have the ability to bounce back from rejection.
These two factors are vitally important tools in any writer’s arsenal. They may seem obvious but the simple truth is, many writers don’t have these tools in their possession. How many of you have disparaged your own work, whether to yourself or to others? Perhaps you told your critique partner that this week’s chapter isn’t very good because you had to write around the kids being home for the holidays. Perhaps you shelved a manuscript because it wasn’t up to submission standard. Perhaps you missed a deadline to enter a contest because you were just too busy.
All of those examples could be perfectly true. They could also be the most subtle of lies, damaging your soul as a writer, as a creator. Do you know deep down that the chapter is good, despite or because of, what you had to go through to write it? Are you scared to send out that manuscript because you’re certain it’ll be rejected? Did you miss that deadline because ‘everyone else’ is ‘way better’ than you?
The reasons I’ve listed are fed by fear. And fear is one of the most negative emotions that can hit a writer. Fear sucks away your faith in your work, makes you question the words that you’ve poured out onto that page minute after minute, hour after hour, and stops you from progressing.
That’s not to say that you have to be Superwoman and feel no fear. Fear can be healthy, so long as it doesn’t stifle you, so long as it motivates you to write the best book you can. But when it gets a grip on you to the extent that you put roadblocks in your own path, when you start sabotaging your progress, then it’s time to fight it. The fight may begin with a small scuffle, when you tell your critique partner something good about that week’s chapter, something that makes you proud. Maybe it’s only a line, but it’s a line you have faith in. The scuffle might escalate to a fistfight, when you push yourself to meet the deadline for a contest, not allowing lack of confidence in your work to get in your way. And it might end up in all out war when you post that manuscript to an editor.
Each time you put a roadblock up, ask yourself whether an impartial observer would also see it. Is that manuscript really bad? And yes, sometimes they are. But if you’re not at the point where you can see so clearly, when you’re still too emotionally bound to your work, don’t let fear drive you into making decisions that will halt your growth as a writer. Believe . In yourself. In your work.
What if you have that belief, that faith, but rejection just destroys you? We all know writers who gave up writing after a particularly brutal rejection, completely shattered. I can understand their reactions. A rejection hits you in the most vulnerable part of your psyche, bruising and bloodying your ego. And a really bad rejection has the impact of a bomb, silencing our voices.
I’m no tower of strength. I’ve cried, screamed and sulked after getting a rejection. And then I’ve picked myself back up, dusted myself off and started again. That, more than anything, is what makes me a writer. Giving up is easy. Sticking to this writing gig when every other day you seem to be hit with a rejection, is hard. Incredibly, terribly hard. My motivation comes from the fact that I can’t not write. I can’t not create. Writing is who I am and I’m blessed to be allowed to live my dream.
What’s your dream? Is it to write? Or is it to make millions? If it’s the latter, I have some bad news for you–making millions might take the average writer that many years. The second piece of bad news is that in this business, money isn’t a good enough motivator (especially when you’re not earning any yet), to make you go out there over and over, and lay yourself open to rejection.
Sit down and ask yourself this question–why are you doing this? And then look at your answer and see if it’s a strong enough reason. Strong enough to armour-plate you against rejection. Strong enough to have you skipping lunch and dinner to find time to write. Strong enough to face down the ‘friends’ who constantly ask you when you’re going to get a real job.
Because the truth is, the ability to bounce back from rejection comes from within you. Sure, after a few rejection letters, you might start becoming used to rejection, but that’s not good enough. You need to be more than simply accepting of it as a part of the writing process. Acceptance of rejection is a kind of apathy. You need to be able to deal with it proactively, to bolster yourself back up, and then to send your work out again wrapped by your belief, your faith, in the worth of your voice.
You need to believe.