Monday, January 13, 2014

Ya Gotta Get It Up

Writing is a series of ups and downs.

It’s what I imagine an actor’s life consists of…when you’re cruising along, portraying your character with everything you have, clicking on all cylinders, and everything makes you feel as if you’re walking on a cloud.

The other side of the coin is when things aren’t going so right…you’ve blown an audition, you’re not hitting your mark no matter what you try, and you can’t remember a line if it’s sticking out of your nose.

Writing is like that.

I’m not talking about the usual “writer’s block” this time…I’m talking about outside distractions.

What I call “writer’s block” is the point in a piece of work when you’re stumped.  You’ve written yourself into a spot that will take some concentration to write yourself out of, or you don’t know in what direction you want to take your writing.

The “ups” happen when you’re writing along, and the story is clicking so well inside your head that you can’t get your fingers to type the words fast enough.  They happen when you’ve sold a piece of work that you weren’t expecting to sell.  They happen when a compliment about a story comes out of the blue, and brings you out of a blue funk.

The outside distractions could be anything…an unpaid bill, a rejection letter, slow sales, a bad review.  Any of these things can provide the “downs”, and shaking them has to come from inside yourself.

If you’re trying to market a story, know your market.  For instance, I mentioned that Glimmer Train Press declined both Saturday In The Park and MacArthur Park.  Were they bad stories?  No!  After The Little Drummer Boy, I personally consider Saturday In The Park to be one of my best short stories featuring Justice Security.  Do action/adventure/suspense stories based on an established series of stories fit what Glimmer Train Press is looking for?  Probably not…and I guessed that when I submitted them.  But, as I’ve said here before, the market for action/adventure stories is very limited.

Glimmer Train Press still has Gold and Hot Child In The City under consideration.  They were submitted at the same time as Saturday In The Park, and well before MacArthur Park.  Gold and Hot Child are both stand-alone stories, with tinges of horror and the unexplained, and are not connected to any series.  Are these types of stories something that Glimmer Train Press is looking for?  Maybe, since they’re still under consideration.

To survive the “downs” in a writing career, you’ve got to be able to reach inside yourself, grab those “down” feelings, and twist them out of existence.

To do this, use two strong tools that are in your possession.  The first tool is a firm belief in yourself and your writing skills.

The second tool?


Keep reading!

Michael (T. M.)

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