The Moody Writer

Ug.  I shouldn’t have submitted to that local magazine.  The rejection is burrowing into my brain, setting up shop, and demanding that I crawl under my rock with the rest of my brethren: the maggots, slugs, and cockroaches.

I wish I didn’t get this way, but I do – all sensitive and prickly.  I can’t stand to see other writers going through this phase.  Whenever I see them spilling the beans, I think, “Geez.  Grow up.  Nobody cares about your stupid traumas.”

Yes, I’m that mean.

And when I get that way, all I can say back to my uppity self is:

SHUT, THE FUCK, UP.  It’s my blog and I’ll cry when I want to.

Ug.  Even worse.  It’s like two schizophrenic kids fighting over who has the bigger bruised ego.

(deep breath)

What can I learn from this experience?  Let’s use bullet points.  Makes it easier for me; don’t have to write in complete sentences. 😉

1. Read the instructions.
The piece was for a local, weekly paper.  They asked for a 400 word story that used a specific phrase.  Both the call for submissions and the paper’s articles are written in a style that is informative, smart, and above all, for a general audience.  A piece that depicts two murders with blood and brains strewn about is probably not what they are looking for – ya think?

2. Read the instructions
They wrote, in clear English, that the winning stories would be read out loud at a local bookstore.  One might think, if that was the case, the editors were probably looking for entries that were lyrical or had some natural rhythm, lending a pleasant sound to the ear when read to an eager audience.  Not short, blunt phrases that involved guns, drugs, and assassins.  Oh, and it might have been a good idea to, you know, like, maybe, read your piece out loud before sending – ya think?

3. Read the instructions
The theme was stealing.  I wrote about stolen money.  Nothing good ever comes from stealing money, but stealing doesn’t always have to be about money, does it? The editors gave us wily writers the topics they were looking for right in the call for submissions.  They wanted “Stolen cars, stolen hearts, stolen files, stolen kisses, stolen ideas…”.  I gave them the 2-minute version of The Godfather.

So, besides reading the instructions, I’ve learned one other valuable lesson:

Know Your Audience.

I feel sorry for the editors because, yes, I will try again next year.

11 thoughts on “The Moody Writer

      1. lol, indeed. yknow i work to briefs quite a lot, and its so easy to get led by the creativity and lose sight of the original intent. one of the most important things i have learned is to stop and reflect on what started me on the road in the first place and to see if im stayin true to the course.

        although if im honest, one of the most enjoyable things about writing is getting caught up in that creative whirlwind it letting it take you off in marvellous directions that never crossed your mind at the start. i have never stuck to a story or essay plan in my life!

  1. I hate those red-faced moments. At least you’re putting your work out there, which is far and away more than I’m doing at the moment. I think you’ve got a right to spill your guts when you’ve got ’em…which by trying shows you have them.

    1. Thanks, Emmie. Like Chris said, sometimes we get caught up in the story and forget to see the big picture. Oh well. Another lesson learned on the road of a wannabe-writer!

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