19th February

A Dearth of Confidence

I can talk a good game. Words have power, spoken words even more so. This is why I try and project a nice positiveness with regard to my writing. The truth is more timid. Receiving rejections that say ‘Close, but no cigar’ can be a fillip initially, a driving force to work on something else. Eventually it becomes a burden, a weight of proximity to success that is not alleviated by the achievement of such.

Which is what has been happening for a while. I send stories out, I receive kind words, but ultimately a decline. It has led to a kind of creeping paralysis. In some of the stories I can see the structural deficiencies. Others, it really is just finding the right home for it, finding someone who interprets the story in the way I wrote it.

I knew this malaise was there. I could watch it creeping along, like poison from a wound that spreads inflammation along the veins. The infection was spreading deeply, beginning to affect even the process of formulating story ideas. A splurge of submission in January was merely a quick blast of oral antibiotics, providing a short term limitation of the effects. A class with Cat Rambo proved to be a consultation with a Doctor. It identified areas still to work on, it provided encouragement that the disease could be over-come.

Somewhere over the past couple of days there has been a turn-around. I first felt it when the basis for a story arrived last Thursday. It has been a goal for some months now to write a story with orthographical ligature at it’s core. No ideas had presented themselves, but last week one popped into my head, nearly fully formed. I scribbled it down and immediately put it aside to think about yet more. Then an idea for a Robinson Crusoe in Space story peeked above the mental parapets. This idea was welcomed with open arms, especially when Bascomb James confirmed he hasn’t had a submission along these lines for the Far Orbit: Apogee anthology he is collating (this was during the monthly WorldWeaverPress twitter discussion, #SFFLunch).

After mulling that idea over for a few days I was able to sit and lay out an initial story plan. It will deviate from that significantly as I write, but oh, it’s good to have that plan there, to see ideas and reasons for writing come together (by reasons, I mean a purpose for the story, as opposed a reason to write).

So, I have a goal. Two new stories to first draft stage in the next month. ‘Not much of a challenge’ I hear from some quarters. Well, no. But then writing is currently a hobby, not my job. But as a hobbyist I don’t want to be a dilettante, I want to become an adept.

As a final jolt to push back the ever present doubt and paranoia that I (and a lot of writers) feel, I received a request for my paypal details and author bio. This for a short story accepted some months ago to an anthology being put together by Chris Kelso, and based in his Slave State reality.

Being a writer is such fun.

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