Greetings, and welcome to The Writing Life! In this week’s article, we’ll be discussing the importance of believing in one’s self, the latest updates in my personal rejections & submissions, as well as finding value in badly written stories . . .
THE WRITING LIFE (issue #3)
It has been said that if you want to make it in the arts, you have to be mad. Whether you want to be a writer, a painter, a musician, a cartoonist, or whatever, you have to be mad.
And being mad means this: you have full confidence in your talent and abilities as a creative person and, above all else, you will turn it into a career. There isn’t any doubt in your heart that it will happen. You have complete faith in yourself and the understanding that through extreme devotion to your craft and plenty of endurance, it will only be a matter of time before the world recognizes and values your good work.
That’s what being mad means in the arts. It also means throwing aside pragmatism, throwing aside the dire warnings from family and friends about the economic fallibility of living off one’s creations, AND, ultimately, it means not listening to anybody but your own true self.
Think of the arrogance of such an attitude!
It is, nonetheless, the attitude one must cultive if one desires to make it in the arts. This is not just my opinion. It’s also the opinion of such legendary artists as Ray Bradbury and Gayon Wilson. Both men have spoken eloquently about the necessity of this outlook in lectures and interviews.
In addition to fostering one’s skills and abilities and believing in one’s self, a good bit of leg work in the way of making a career out of art is often done by sheer luck.
So, dear friends, fellow writers and artists, may you be good to the muse (that means show up and do the work, every day, relentlessly) and may the muse be good to you (that means may you get damn lucky and everything works out).
There’s plenty of room in this world for artists of all kinds and stripes, in my opinion. It isn’t a competition, or a battle for first place. There’s no need to fight over who’s the best writer or painter or dancer or singer. There’s room for all of us.
The muse is wonderously vast.
I GOT THEM REJECTION BLUES (My favorite segment of The Writing Life!)
It’s time for me to share the latest rejections of my stories. Every once in a great while, they can get me down, but most of the time, they make me smile. Whenever I read a rejection slip, I just say ‘Ok!’ And send out another submission straight away.
In the hope of inspiring fellow writers with the notion that rejections CAN be fun, here’s the latest:
Cast of Wonders rejects my story, Love From Another Place, a supernatural tale of love and loss. This tale is almost ashamedly adolescent in nature, BUT, hey, some people dig that. Teenage girls, for one.
87 Bedford rejects Love From Another Place as well (double your money!).
The Forge Literary Magazine rejects The Hating Game, a flash-fiction piece commenting on such contemporary topics “online trolling” and “cyber-bullying”.
The Future Fire rejects ‘Til Death Do Us Never Part, a story about a bickering married couple whose problems follow them even when they’re both six feet under! This is a comedic, philosophical horror tale, which I’ve recently adapted for the stage. There’s a good chance it may be performed live before an audience in 2020, along with two other strange tales of mine.
On the other hand, I’ve sent out:
Fish Out of Water, a strange fiction tale which merges pulp-style writing with Kafkaeque horror, to Automata Review.
I’m really proud of this tale, and I hope someone picks it up.
The Hating Game to After Dinner Conversation and Confingo Magazine.
Blue Christmas, the shortest story I’ve ever written, to 50-Word Stories! Read this one if you want to cry on Christmas.
Crash Landing, a lost-genre science-fiction story, to Planet Scumm.
LOVE the name of that last one, don’t you?
IN OTHER NEWS/WRITING ADVICE
I’ve had a great time tonight writing a zombie tale entitled, No Way Out. It’s got a hell of a lot of descriptive, gory passages and, what I hope are, some sympathetic characters.
First draft adds up to a little over 6,000 words. Tomorrow night I’ll be editing, re-writing and generally making it look like I knew what the hell I was doing the first time around.
NOW, time for this week’s edition of UNSOLICITED WRITING ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS— advice you never asked for, and which may or may not damage your writing career.
Today’s advice is more to do with one’s attitude than it does with the craft of writing, although it is nonetheless vital:
One ought to greatly value every lousy, bad, terrible story they’ve ever written. You know you’ve done it. Admit it! You’ve written a lousy tale or two; a story that might have germinated from a good idea, but couldn’t quite stand on its own? Even the best writers in the business have done it.
It’s not a bad thing, and here’s why: By completing a lousy, no-good story, you learn things. What you learn, especially, is what not to do the next time around. So for every lousy story you write, you are paving the way for all the good ones. You are gaining experience, and likewise, knowledge about your craft.
And that’s where I leave you: pestered and possessed by the muse. Until next time,
Your constant writer,