Do you ever get the feeling that you've experienced déjà vu about this before?
Daddy needs a win and momma needs a new pair of shoes. If you are writing for instant gratification and overnight fame, you might want to consider something easier like using a spoon to carve through a mountain. I managed to squeeze out four victories in two months, a period in which I honestly expected zero, but it is still tough. Every rejection feels like fifteen.
A myriad of challenges in my personal and professional life have cut my writing time substantially and my focus during those precious moments has been shaky at best. I currently slogging through a time travel story hoping to have in presentable before the deadline, a race with time I am currently losing.
So let’s have a momentary diversion. Let’s talk about Brittana and last nights episode Glee:Duets!
First, let me say that Kurt’s dad is one of my favorite characters on “Glee” and I thought he was robbed, even though I love Neil Patrick Harris on “How I Met Your Mother.” Last night I was so very glad to see him finally put Kurt in his delusional place. He always treats his son with compassion and respect but it had to be said.
I had the feeling that Glee was just playing Brittana for the ratings last year but, lo and behold, they are back again and this time in living color. For those who argue about the subject matter being too adult, you obviously have not been watching the series. Teen pregnancy, homosexuality, adultery, drug use, racism, inappropriate teacher/student relations and that was in the first half hour of the pilot episode. Glee is NOT a children’s show. It never was. It deals with real issues that happen frequently to everyday high school teenagers and most everyone can relate to at least one or two characters on the show.
So, after I got over my shock at how far Glee pushed the envelope I noticed something. I really dislike Santana even more than I did already. Brittany is no angel but mostly she is just vapid, rarely cruel. In fact, there is enough in the episode to make you whether she was being genuine with Artie, sleeping with him only because that is the only way that she knows how to relate to someone. The very last scene with the meatball could have been just silly, but there is a sweetness and naivety in Brittany that made it gut-wrenching. Two thumbs up to Heather Morris for doing such a great job making me care about an airhead.
I received a good news/bad news email today. Literally, that is what the editor said. My longer story failed to hit the mark but my micro fiction was a success. I was truly honored and grateful at the opportunity, but part of me wants it all. I realize that I cannot have a 100% acceptance rate and the control panel at duotrope tells me that I am doing better than the average bear. Still, I know that I can do better, and it is frustrating that I do not always have the time to do my best.
Like most humans, males especially, I have an irrational fear and loathing of coming in second. This is a tragic irony given that I tend to fare better than average at so many pursuits. Rather than enjoying myriad minor successes, I carp and complain at the elusiveness of the gold medal. The expression “Jack of all trades, master of none” is one of the most succinct responses to this dilemma.
Consider this: your writing, or whatever your favored skill is, is of a particular caliber. Like a weapon, you have a limited ability to have an impact on your target. If you breathe, relax, aim properly and go after your target you will likely hit it. This method requires patience, dedication and the risk that your quarry will move on before you get your shot in. Attempting to spray the target in an automatic fashion increases the likelihood that you will hit “something,” but not necessarily your target.
My approach in life, like so many people, has always been the third method, buckshot. Bursting all of my energy in a general direction, but split up into tiny efforts, occasionally works for me. You will definitely hit your target, but unless you are close to them, they only receive a partial impact. Eventually, you have to “bite the bullet” (yes, I know) and learn to line up your shots.
Happy Writing my friends!
Recently, I have detected a pattern in my favorite stories written over the past month and a half and I discovered a hidden treasure…me! My natural “voice” is very light and borderline sarcastic. Some might even find me silly. Silly is not for everyone. Some publishers might mistake my sardonic tones for an amateurish attitude. I found myself worrying whether I could find a market that appreciates my "voice".
Last night, I had a very enlightening conversation with an editor. While I had to keep myself from reacting defensively to his multiple corrections, he gave me a lot of positive feedback as well. One of the things that he liked best: you guessed it, my voice.
So keep learning and perfecting your craft. Learn your punctuation and grammar. Get to know “Strunk & White” and "The Chicago Manual of Style". Reread books that you like. Use spell check, but do not rely on software alone. Do what you can to write well. However, whatever you do, do not stop being “you”.
Here is a fun contest for you. October 4 through 13 at Chick Lit Shorties you can enter your best 10 word short story and have a shot at some great prizes.
My entry is #71. Show me some love if you like my story.
There is less than a one week left in this month’s “Your Story” contest.
I am so very not in a writing mood today. My house has still not recovered from the flood damage, which is keeping my whole family in an unhappy mood. I received a rejection last night. I should hear back this week about one or more other projects. I have not written anything in five days and I really need to get back into the groove.
However, the oppressive weight of depression and helplessness is slowly dissipating now that I am not actually in the house. I hope that, on the way home, I can create something special for you.
Please let me know what you think about the changes to the site layout. What would you like to see more of on the site?
I have a number of ideas floating around. I know that many of my friends are talented artists and photographers. Perhaps we can do something fun and original. I would like to turn the Way of the Sword into a series of illustrated novels, so if you know of any artists who are looking to collaborate, please ask them to get in touch with me.
October is here and opportunities abound. It is a new fiscal year and open season for many periodicals and publishing houses. Take a trip to http://www.duotrope.com and review the new listings under the “Deadline Calendar.” There are more than a hundred markets waiting to hear from you.
Irony always seems to follow me, as I rounded the forty-day mark in my challenge I lost two days of writing due to flooding in my basement. We are still cleaning up the damage, but I wanted to drop this note before going back to the battlefront.
On a positive note, I will have another publication in the next few weeks, more details to follow. Happy writing my friends!