It’s that time of the week when I do a bit of reflection. True to form, after my good spell last week, this week has been not so great. I’ve had no less than three rejections from writing submissions, all in quick succession of each other. That was a mercy, I suppose, to get it all out of the way early on. It did set my mood for an already dismal week though.
And it meant I’ve been a hypocrite as well because I posted a quote by Sylvia Plath as my Monday Muse all about how crippling self doubt can be, and then instantly began to doubt myself. I keep reminding myself of all the writers who were rejected before they got published. And I think of other people I know who would give up after one rejection.
I’m not going to give up. But I have allowed myself those moments of self doubt, to wonder if I should just stop and concentrate on making a “proper career”. Because honestly I need to go through the motions. I’m only human. (And in retrospect, Sylvia Plath maybe isn’t the most stable reliable person to be taking life advice from.)
What I have also done is start approaching things differently. Recently I’ve adopted a way of writing where I focus on creating a story for a particular publication or competition but this week I’ve only been writing what I want to write. After all, isn’t that the point? I do feel better for it. I may not get it published but I’m not thinking about that. I’m just writing the stories I want to tell.
I finished reading Wolf Hall this week and I loved it. Hilary Mantel has such an unusual style of writing and I’ve heard others saying they don’t like it. It definitely is a Marmite style but it worked for me. And it’s something I needed to see because it shows me that you can be successful even if you’re not a “traditional” writer. She breaks all the “rules” but I was completely captivated by the flow of her prose. She just writes the story she wants to tell in the way that comes naturally to her and I’m beginning to wish I had read something of hers before I made my list of Top Ten Writers, though I don’t know who I would push off.
I often feel like I’m constantly trying to please others and I don’t want to do that with my art. It’s my selfish part. So I will stop writing to fit in and start finding places that will fit around me. I won’t ever be a commercial writer, I’ve always known that. Even if just a handful of people read my work and find something in it, I will be satisfied.
It’s a bittersweet ending to the week but in a way, I’m more content.