That Pesky Writing Thing

I’m a very effective, efficient and highly competent procrastinator, especially when it comes to writing. Oh yes, I have had long periods of drought, brought on by something very specific: the lack of sitting down to write.

Yes, I go for extended periods of time when I’d rather poke my eyes out than sit down and write something. And WHY would I do that? Because I’m a writer, of course.

Writers have written about their lack of productivity, or conversely, have crowed about their systematic and highly organized daily writing habits, for all of us to read. Heck, I’ve even quoted some of those folks on this very blog.

Since I haven’t been writing short stories, I look to other areas where I am writing and give myself a big ol’ pat on the back. Hey, I’m writing a blog entry right now! Look at me, I’m writing something!

And I’ve also gone back to writing my personal journal on a more regular basis. Not quite everyday, but with a regularity that keeps me satisfied. Sure, I say to myself when I’ve finished a hand written entry, you just wrote something.

It’s true too. Writing my blog entries and my personal journal entries are writing. Some of you (thank you, yet again) are actually coming here and reading it too … which, I gotta tell you, IS gratifying. Knowing there is an audience for these blog posts keeps me motivated to continue maintaining the blog. And, as an aside, I have been maintaining this blog for years now. And I’ve met a lot of really nice readers along the way, from all over the world. The world of blogging is pretty amazing, in my opinion.

Okay, I just distracted myself (but not you, dear reader) from what I was admonishing myself for, my lack of “real” output.

And over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about where I left off with my writing. I mean to say I’d been quite organized when I was submitting my short stories to online journals, and so I went back to the list I kept to see what I’d been doing.

Boy, that was shocking to me. I realized, in looking at my list of submissions, that I’d only submitted work to journals six times during all of 2014. Compared to what I’d been doing in 2013, this was the literary equivalent of letting my work fall off a cliff into an abyss.

But that’s not all. The facts are the facts – I had not submitted ANY short stories for consideration in 2015.

Zero.

Zip.

Nada.

Here was harsh reality staring me in the face. I had produced no new short stories in 2014, and I had submitted no short stories in 2015.

So how important is this pesky writing thing to me? I asked myself.

I don’t have a real answer for that right now, except to say, it’s of some importance to me. “How much” is – as of this writing – an unknown quantity.

By delving into my “state of affairs,” I was able to go back to a story I’d written in 2013 and which I’d barely tried to get published in 2014. That story has accumulated only two rejections, which I know from my own experiences, is nothing in the overall process of getting a story published.

And so I dusted off the story and re-edited it. I liked the more tightened version, and have since sent it off to two more potential markets where it could be published. Or not. But I’m giving it a try.

Looking at words on a page, rearranging them, removing a few, adding one here and then moving that sentence there all feels good. It feels right. There’s a comfort in it.

I’m unwilling to give myself any more credit than “feeling good” about submitting a dusted off story to two editors for their consideration. It is what it is, nothing more. If I’m going to go any further, there’s work ahead to be done.

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2 Responses

  1. Love this. I often ask myself, why write fiction? What good has it done anyone? Then I read something amazing and want to be a part of it. It’s a vicious cycle that I’m tapped in. I didn’t submit anything last year, either, but this year is different. I’m pilling up the rejections to beat the band!

    • Sean,

      I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’ve been reading your new blog, which chronicles your battle with cancer. I’m so sorry that you have been unwell.

      I came across it recently when you liked one of my posts, and I found my way to your new blog spot, I was unaware of it before now.

      I applaud your honesty, the way you delve into the raw emotion of your experience, and how you are dealing with the actual physicality of the situation. It’s gut wrenching to read, which is one millionth of whatever you are actually experiencing.

      I hope you are able to continue sharing, long into your recovery. I wish you only the best, and if you’re piling up rejection notices, I’m sure there will be acceptances just around the corner.

      Please stay in touch…

      Carol

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