Confidence is a funny thing. After a promising round of acceptances over recent months, I’d been on a bit of a writing high. Thought I’d try my hand at a few more story competitions. Got scribbling, sent off lots of pieces, and felt like I was making some real progress. A few weeks down the line and all my efforts have come to naught. To date, not a single placing or even honourable mention! Sigh! Then, last week, I was pipped at the post in a recent job application and felt very gloomy.
Common sense and experience tells you in this situation you should just put it behind you and get on with some more writing, but that’s harder than it looks. I wasted time on what my mum used to call “pencil sharpening” – i.e. any other task which you can pretend needs to be done in order to begin writing, but which isn’t actually writing. Into that category falls diversionary house work, personal admin, grocery shopping. So we had a full freezer, and a vacuumed house, but my fiction word-count was stationary.
Maybe the human mind needs these lulls, maybe it re-charges the batteries. Over the weekend, I started off by tentatively editing some old stuff, neither my brain or heart really in the task. This morning, I sat down wanting to really get things moving. One story has gone in the post, another via email. Two more have just gone off as entries in the spring The Yellow Room magazine competition (closing date, 31st March – so there’s still time to enter – go to http://www.theyellowroom-magazine.co.uk/www.theyellowroom-magazine.co.uk/Competitions.html for details). I am not, it has to be said, wholly convinced about any of these stories, but as we all know, they have a greater chance out there in the big wide world than they do languishing in my laptop.
They say the darkest hour is always before the dawn. In a few weeks, when the snow is gone and we’re basking in sunshine (difficult to imagine, I know) I’m sure everything will look more promising. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for Spring to be sprung, I’m aiming to keep focused, and keep tapping away at the keyboard. As we all know, perseverance is the key. Well, currently, perseverance and a very thick fleecy blanket! 😉