My new writing buddy. He must have worked, had a breakthrough with my latest WIP!
My new writing buddy. He must have worked, had a breakthrough with my latest WIP!
Something happens after a book is published. Writers, then, have a dual focus. Trying to promote and continuing to work on their next project. This leaves me, personally, overwhelmed. And I don’t function well in that place.
Some authors speak of a “let down” time after their novel or book is published. That they feel depressed, blue, unable to work.
I wonder if it’s something like postpartum depression. You’ve worked so hard and birthed this marvelous creation, and you’re somewhat exhausted and now have so much to take care of.
The thing about procrastination is that it becomes a habit.
When I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do first, I tend to procrastinate. We’re not just talking about a lot to do. I regularly have a lot to do and have it scheduled, done, and still have writing time.
I think scheduling helps overcome or even usurp any potential procrastination. So it’s summer, no schedule, makes it even harder.
I got a schedule book, instead of just my phone, and keep that on the table I pass most often in the house. There it is, laying open, telling me what needs to be done and by what time. No phone beep that I tend to ignore or swipe to dismiss, but an open book written in pen and ink.
I’m old school. An open book is my catnip.
I’m a tad neurotic. A to-do list is my medicine.
Take that procrastination!
Doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.
I usually receive rejections that are quite nice. “We really liked it, but…” or “Please submit again…”
I asked someone more experienced than I and was told that these are usually genuine and the editor, whether or not your work was accepted, liked the work.
I have been told that it didn’t quite fit their needs or that there was some disagreement between editors, which I again take as reasonably good rejects.
Once in awhile I get a rejection which makes me wonder what story they actually read.
I submitted to one journal who called for the topic of Deception, “Friends, Lovers, and Liars.” It’s a story about a woman who even deceives herself as she she comments on other’s deceptions. I thought it was spot on. The editor, however, did not and wrote, “I’m not sure why you submitted this. This doesn’t at all fit our call…” He wen ton to make me believe that I had triggered something.
The story is about a woman who has an affair. I have a feeling, the story struck a nerve. Ouch. Sorry. (The story has been published twice since then. – You can find it here.)
I recently received another long and involved rejection, although I don’t think because it acted as a trigger. But the rejection was nearly as long as the story. (haha – I’m exaggerating, of course.) But it stated things like “promises and doesn’t deliver,” “narrative too thin.”
Again, I wondered – had this editor read MY story? Or did he/she confuse it with another. This has happened once before.
I received a rejection – thanks, but no thanks, and then another the next day: “Thanks for submitting, we love it and would like to publish it!
If this happened face to face, I would nod and smile. I do something similar through email – “Great, thanks!”
Someone asked me if I respond to negative rejections with commentary. I don’t usually. I think I have once, but the editor was so nice about it. He gave me commentary, and then still asked me to submit again! Him, I thanked.
If these were feedback type of rejections, I might thank them. But I feel that they are not. It’s someone who is feeling his/her power and thinks they know everything.
I don’t respond to people like that. There is always to say no nicely. There is always away to give someone feedback – even negative – and be nice about it. Edit
ors should be experts on that.
By the way – that story with the “too thin narrative” was accepted to a number of journals within a week of sending it out. I’d barely gotten to sending out the withdraw notices when a number of others had sent acceptances – my apologies to those journals. I’ll do it the same day from now on!
That story, too, appears in my latest book of short stories – How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.
One negative rejection should not upset a writer. They are to be expected. Do not let it take away all the nice rejections and don’t let it come near your brilliant acceptances!
Reviews are so important to writers; it helps other readers make more informed decisions. I’m always grateful for a review and even more grateful for a good review!
My first review for the new book of short fiction! Thank you! See it on Amazon!
Okay, so not bragging, but….. I’ve been hard at work….
The Healer’s Daughter in The Ear
The Healer’s Daughter is a departure for me. It marks a turns in my writing that came about just this year. It’s more mystical. Risky, maybe. A woman’s daughter describes her mother’s gift and discovers she has her very own gift, but will she actually use it?
The Healer’s Daughter will be featured in my summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. It’s a book of short stories, all of which have a special or surprising twist.
Friends, Lovers, and Liars in Home Renovation
Originally titled Deception, it didn’t find a home. In fact, the topic of lies and cheating offended one editor. I think it may have hit too close to home. It, too, will be released in the summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.
How to Throw a Psychic Surprise Party in The Electric Press Magazine
The title story for the book of short stories. Inspired by a show in which I saw a television host throw a “surprise” party for a psychic. It struck me – How do you throw a psychic a surprise party?
This story may answer that question. Maybe not. How much empathy can you muster?
Hunger and other poems as well as some photography in Voices of Eve
Not in the book of short stories. But well worth the read. Hunger is one of my favorite poems.
Also in the book of short stories –
The Crier: In a time when emotions are unheard of, people need a release.
The Mirror People: Ever wondered what’s inside the mirror? You know there’s something, right? Here’s a woman who collects them – she knows.
Bowie and the Basket Case: Anna’s things keep disappearing and reappearing. At first she thinks she’s misplaced them, but then she’s sure she hasn’t!
An extremely good conversation in my literature class about intelligence (Inspired by Ted Chiang’s The Great Silence). We talked about other species that fall under the definition of intelligence, which is “the ability to understand and apply knowledge.” Considering Alex the Parrot and Koko the Gorilla, and other species: crows are problem solvers and remember faces. We discussed dogs, cats, and others. Is love, as an abstract idea, understood and applied by animals? And then – is intelligence found in showing love?
This is what good literature should do. Teach, delight, and create wonder.
I’ve been thinking of coffee shops. And it’s not only because I’m a caffeine addict. Coffee and coffee shops are a part of our everyday lives and, therefore, our characters’ lives. What type of coffee shop and what they order will inform our readers of who they are in ways we won’t need to spell it out.
I, personally, savor that first sip of morning tea. For a few moments, it’s the perfect temperature and I hold it close to my face, ready for the next sip as the first drips of bitter black tea warm my throat and my body, the caffeine going to work immediately to bring me to full wakefulness in anticipation of a busy day.
A friend described a man in her carpool who stopped every day at Starbucks for a large quadruple espresso latte on their way to work and on their drive back from work. But, she added, he also complained constantly about his budget. This told me a lot about the person in just a few sentences.
Does your character rush into Starbucks and curse the line? Probably orders ahead for pick up, but what if it’s not there? Or is your character the kind that seeks out the independent coffee shop because it may be less busy or just because it’s independent.
There used to be a coffee shop on Ventura Blvd between Hazeltine and Woodman. I don’t remember the name, but I do remember the walls were pink. I liked it for it’s small town charm. Local home made jams lined the shelves behind me while local artists’ paintings adorned their walls. They only had a few wooden tables, a few more outside, and a few bar-type seats at the counter. Instead of the iced black or green tea choices at you-know-where, I opted for their daily choices, which might icled iced peach or raspberry-ginger. They offered an array of vegan or gluten free cookies as well. Who could resist?
I used this coffee shop in my story “Harvey Levin Can’t Die” (originally published in Pilcrow and Dagger Sept 2016). The story really is about change. How society reflects the individual and how the individual internalizes society. One of the characters worked there, but felt out of place. This also represented her life, she felt out of place and hadn’t really begun to make real decisions about who she was or what she wanted. But, of course, that changed and so did her involvement in the coffee shop and the guests as she becomes more proactive in her life. The reader is left to decide the interaction between her and society and whether the influence is good or bad.
It would have implied something different about my character if she’d worked at a chain coffee shop. The chain itself would have had an influence and been a foil. She wouldn’t have been able to grow and and the readers couldn’t see the change within the coffee shop itself; therefore, the setting was important in that instance.
Each place, each chain, is different. The people who go to the local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Company are different than those who go to Pete’s or even Starbucks. As writers, I imagine we’ve all spent time in these places. And our jobs as writers are to observe. Beyond the color scheme and coffee served, there’s a different atmosphere garnered by and at these places, and the people are different or act different.
I rarely see the impatient phone-bearing customers from the Monday morning Starbucks run at Pete’s. Nor do I see the more relaxed culture of the Pete’s “give me the multi-grain scone and flipped macchiato” at Coffee Bean.
I used another independent coffee shop for “$1.00 Stories” (originally published in The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal April – 2016). A mixture of independent coffee shops, one of which still squeaks by in the recesses of North Hollywood. I wanted a friendly owner and regulars my character would recognize. Not that he cared about them; it was more important for the story that they were familiar with Cris, and they accepted with good-natured-humor his occasional weirdness. I didn’t want to make him completely unlikable. I wanted him to come across as a little more complex, so he went to this coffee shop where he knew the owner and sneered at the community table while the regulars chuckled.
The joy I get from using independent coffee shops (or even invented coffee shops) is that I get to describe them, which will also tell us something about the character. In “Harvey Levin”, the character hated the pink walls. But using a chain also tells us something about the character.
Our characters are going to need caffeine at some point in the story. Giving the reader their choice of coffee shops, even in one line, gives the reader an insight into the person we’re creating.
Now my tea’s cold. But I don’t own a microwave and that never tastes good anyway.
I’ve been remiss in my posting – which is a social media no-no. Can I tell you a secret? I’m really just an introverted writer and I really want to do is:
I had a fantastic time at the Poe Museum reading Eddy. They live streamed it (I didn’t know they were doing that!) and I’ve been invited back, hope to go soon!
In the meantime, I’ll be at AWP.
So – whenever you need something to do – click the link, read a story, let me know what you think!