Story Worms: Bouncing Back


In my last post I was racing against a deadline. I can tell you that I did finish the story, submitting it just 20 minutes before submissions closed. I can also tell you that it was rejected.

I was really disappointed. I had been proud of it; it had given me several nightmares over the last few days, really got under my skin. I posted some self-pitying Tweets, moaned about it on Google+, wrote a blog post, and asked my friends to tell me how amazing I am. It all helped.

The rejection email had been one of the most polite and friendly ones I’ve ever received (so I couldn’t even feel angry at them). And I’m quite confident that I wasn’t rejected because my story was rubbish. They received well over 100 submissions for an anthology with just 14 spaces.

This doesn’t mean the end for my story. I’ll look it over, send it out for beta reading, and submit it elsewhere. It’s a good story, it’s a scary story, and I’m sure it will find a home somewhere.

I’ll admit, it shook my confidence. The thought of giving up writing altogether did pass through my head. But only for a second. Surviving a rejection is all about throwing yourself back into it.

I was already part way through a new story, so I focused all of my attention on it. I wrote like crazy, edited over and over after feedback from several beta readers, and polished it to within an inch of its life. This story excited me. It largely wrote itself; my fingers an enthusiastic blur over my keyboard. I love the characters, I love the plot, I love the twists. Not only that, but I submitted it a whole 10 days before the deadline. That’s not like me at all.

I’m currently waiting for 4 responses from submissions. Waiting is tough. It gives you time to get paranoid, start worrying, lose faith in your writing. I have to keep myself busy to stop from checking my email every 2 minutes. So I’m already onto my next piece.

This one is a real story worm. It’s niggling away at the back of my head, refusing to come up to the surface just yet. I hope it hurries up; I’ve been tugging at its tail, but it’s still being stubborn. Yesterday I went for a walk, hoping to find some inspiration. I spent the time nosing at the houses around me and not thinking about my story at all.

Luckily though, I’ve got a huge pile of dirty dishes in my kitchen. My ideas never fail to come out while I’m up to my elbows in washing up bubbles.

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