Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to Keep Moving Forward

All across the social media world, I've seen questions from writers that look like this:
  • What do you do while waiting on submissions or queries?
  • How do you keep going when the rejections pile up?
  • Why is it that writers are always in perpetual purgatory?
  • I can't get past this funk/block/blank page. What do I do?
Question mark
I've asked these questions many times as well. More often than not, the simple--and usually given--answer is to write. Write more. Write through it. Write every day. Write faster. Write better. Write stronger. Write. Write. Write. But, here's the problem...you know that already. I know that already. Writers struggling with these issues aren't looking for a simplistic, "well, write."
Help button
If only it were that easy.
We're looking for a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, an understanding companion, a commiserating friend. We know we can't do anything about the wait, so we're reaching out to the people in the waiting room with us. We're searching for our fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms to help us through the sludge. At the end of the day, writing might be a solo endeavor, but it doesn't have to be a lonely one.
Funny girl
Now, you just tell me all about it.
The writing community is rich with people who will happily delve into the pits with you, or bravely cheer you on when you need motivation, or bribe you with chocolate and vodka. Or cookies, big peanut butter and chocolate cookies, like this...
Giant peanut butter cookie
Like Mars' red spot, but chocolate!
While the answer to the above questions might be write--and yeah, okay, that's right--it's also talk with others who are in your shoes or have been there before. It's have a big cookie and be kind to yourself. It's pull up a chair and tell me about it in 140 characters. It's email, text, post a facebook status or chat on the forums. It's close the computer for awhile and come back later. It's read, watch TV, sing, laugh, dance, go for a walk. It's don't let the rejections defeat you, don't let the wait paralyze you, and don't fight these feelings alone.

What do you do when your writing friend is feeling blue? How can we help motivate each other without giving the "write" talk?

10 comments :

  1. Great advice! I kind of needed to read this today. :) Thanks!

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    1. Huggles. Kind of like muggles, but much more magic in the hug. :D

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  2. Great post lady! And you're right, writing is lonely, but there are so many people out there rooting for us. I know I get a lot of support from my crit group and from my agent mates, while waiting to hear back on projects. Rejection, waiting, even trying to overcome writer's block can be hard. There are a couple people (fellow writers) who email back and forth w/me everyday and they are so encouraging.

    The biggest thing that keeps me going through the rough patches though, is finding a new project or taking a break all together (AKA pull out the video games and whoop some bad guy butt--hehehe).

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    1. Thanks, Rebekah! Yes, if I didn't have some great fellow writers to chat with, I'd probably be crazy...er than I am now. And bad guy whooping video games should be a part of every writer's de-stressing process. Sadly, I haven't held a controller in...whoa, a loooong time. I think hubs and I will have a date with the console this weekend. :D Lego Star Wars!

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  3. This is great, Tina! I don't know what I'd do w/out my writer peeps. We've all mastered the art of cheering each other on! Also, I've found such a cozy community on the blogosphere. I'm amazed how many writers are willing to share their triumphs and despairs. The honesty is moving. :)

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    1. I feel the same way, Celeste! It's a pleasure to be a member of this community. :D

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  4. This also goes hand-in-hand with maintaining self-confidence (also tricky to do in the rejection stage). For me, I find it helps to call on my mentors--those who have been a part of my writing process from the beginning. They remind me of things I've forgotten amid all the sludge of writing, re-writing, submitting, rejections, etc. Especially the things I've forgotten about myself.

    Thanks so much for posting this!

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    1. Excellent idea. When someone can clearly see where you've been, and where you are now, it helps open our eyes. Hugs for all mentors.

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  5. When I'm blocked writing, I talk it out, either with my husband, my cat, or my CP's. They might not help me fix the problems, but just being there and listening usually helps me work through it.

    When querying, and waiting for the dreaded rejections, I rely on twitter friends and CP's to talk me off the ledge and keep me sane. Cookies don't hurt, either. And reading. I have a TBR pile the size of the Washington Monument for days when I really need a good distraction. :D

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    1. Talking, cookies and reading. Yup, agreed. :D

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