Drought.

Two recent articles have brought up some angst for me. The first was this one:

The 5 Most Dangerous Creativity Killers

and the second was:

What if I Don’t “Make It?”

At the end of the first article number 5 is:

Discouragement/No Positive Feedback

It’s tough to continue working on novel ideas when you haven’t received any positive feedback. This feeling is backed by psychological research that shows people who’ve started a new undertaking are most likely to give up the first time things come crashing down, also known at the “what the hell!” effect.

Creative people thrive on having others impacted by their ideas. Without feedback, their motivation begins to wither and die.

So far I’m struggling on through my acceptance drought, surviving on the feedback of people whose opinions I respect and who will tell me straight if something is no good. But the positive feedback I crave above all else is the “I’d like to accept X for our publication” or whatever variation that letter takes. Because if no one likes my stuff enough to buy it, then how can I be sure it’s actually any good?

Which brings me to Adam’s blog post about “making it”. I’m really feeling this at the moment. My version of “making it” involves selling stories on a semi-consistent basis. Having a name that people may actually recognise without having met me. But what if that never happens? I feel a kind of fear that this is my big opportunity, while the Goo-toddler is still little and I’m still able to justify being home with him, to build up my writing CV and start to make some money off my work (at least enough to perhaps justify continuing past the time I should be earning money for my family). And if I don’t start selling stories soon, will I have to give up writing (or at least relegate it to a hobby when I get the chance?) Because any work will take up time, and so do my children, and that doesn’t leave much time left over for lots of writing.

I know I periodically revisit this. It’s painful. I’m writing non-fiction as well to try to branch out. I’ve only just started that so I am reserving judgement so far.

You need a strong will to keep going in the face of so much rejection. I’m a stubborn piece of shit. But it takes a toll. I wonder if I’m insane to keep putting myself through this.

And then I sit down and start another story. It’s an addiction.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll sell this one.

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4 thoughts on “Drought.

  1. I think any writer knows how you feel. We want a modicum of success so we know we’re doing the right thing, and that all the time we invest is worthwhile. If it’s not, then we feel guilty about doing something so time-consuming. People have this weird idea that if you’re not doing something with your writing, then it’s just an idle fancy. Poppycock.

    You’re a good writer and you’ll get the success you want. Just keep plugging away!

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