The title of this post seems to be the general sentiment of the human population on planet Earth. The challenges we faced overshadowed the really neat things that happened. We all look forward to a better year. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I am glad that I pushed through those challenges to release three books.
When I took on the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I had no idea I’d have to fight through fatigue, stress, and tons of pop-ups. I discovered something though–writing relaxes and invigorates me at the same time. I accomplished more than just achieving the word count. I finished first drafts of a screenplay and a short story with two other short stories a few scenes shy of becoming completed first drafts themselves. Some of these are projects I never thought I’d start much less finish in 2020. I celebrate everyone who jumped in and created something more than what they had before. Congrats to all the NaNoWriMo Winners.
In times like these, focusing on the vivid colors around us can be challenging, the last thing on our minds. However, we must, I think, or the creativity in us will shrivel up, and we’d lack the stamina to continue taking care of ourselves and the ones we love. When I walk my dog, I focus on the scattering of squirrels claws on the tree bark and the fluttering of butterflies’ wings. I smile up at the squirrel lounging on a tree limb and the white, fluffy clouds floating across the sky-blue canopy. Look at these flowers and imagine the scent wafting off them. Inhale the sweetness and exhale the toxicity of stress holding us hostage. Create (write, sing, draw, perform) and share with others. We need that right now.
Any writer who has submitted work to a publisher or contest undoubtedly deals with rejection at some point. It may come via a form letter or an email. The ones where there’s a message of encouragement softens the blow just a bit. Other times, the realization hits you when the announcement date has passed and there’s nothing in the inbox.
I received such an email on July 28, 2020. My response? A sigh. I’d hoped this one would make it.
The key is to not wallow in self-pity for too long. I gave that emotion all of five seconds, huffed out a breath, then kept working. Rejection doesn’t necessarily mean my work wasn’t any good. It could mean it wasn’t a good match or the individual liked something better. In the meantime, I’ll take more writing classes and ask others to critique my stories. That’s how I’ll grow as a writer.
Will I submit to other contests? Absolutely! There’s a certain thrill in trying. It means I finished yet another piece of work that has a chance of being accepted.
We are all currently living through a worldwide pandemic, the cause of all sorts of emotions. Sadness. Loneliness. Devastation. Grief. Contentment. Happiness. It’s often said that writers write what they know. Following this period in our lives, we writers will have much fodder to scribble about. But, how do we snatch the intensity of those feelings and express them in all their rawness?
Some folks journal. I don’t. Instead, I write scenes that relate to what I’m experiencing at the time, though not necessarily the exact same event. Many of my readers have said that the characters’ emotions spill off the page and affect them at a deep level. I think it’s because I’m at the height of those emotions when I write about them.
I wonder what my writing will be like in the near future.
It’s probably not what you’re thinking. Everyday, we face “challenges” which sometimes turn our world upside down. Take “characters” for example. How do I bring them to life so that the reader will remember them long after the last sentence is read? Will the dialogue bring out their quirky personalities? Working through scenes take a certain type of “courage” to build up heart-pumping action. “Challenges” keep coming, but we press on, doing our best to use what we know to make the future stories better.
Most of us start out the New Year with goals. The first month usually gets off to a great start. However, by month two, the momentum may begin to dwindle.
I’ve been diligently editing three manuscripts in the hopes of reprinting one or releasing the other two this year. So far, I’m on track, but keeping the pace has been met with a few challenges: pop up tasks, other responsibilities, and tough scenes.
I’m also determined to post something on both my sites each month in addition to social media. That’s quite an undertaking when writing isn’t my full-time job. Excitement is building, though, as each hour of work brings me closer to a finished product.
So, even if your goals have taken a downward turn, don’t give up. Perseverance is the key to achieving what we set out to accomplish. We got this!