Sometimes a report card can break the gloom . . .

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

LarryWinger

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Hi,
As a newbie, I'm not at all sure that I'm allowed to post anything yet, apart from an introduction, but I've been dealing with discouragement and despondency a bit over the past weeks. And my last submission to our writers group was universally panned. In a nice way, of course, but still.

It wasn't in a pique, but it was more of a 'think about it, mate' kind of response that had me going over the entire academic year's work (our writing group is organised in three pairs of half-terms, six weeks per half-term) and just listing the titles, before annotating them as to what transpired with the pieces I'd submitted. Along the way, the exercise already helped lift my dark mood, and then I hit upon a new personal strategy.

Apropos my last submission, our tutor suggested that writing can/should have intrinsic value to the writer, regardless of the end result (sales/readership/accolades). And I realised that both in poetry and prose, the pieces that either didn't find their way onto any competition long-list, or get incorporated into my developing novels, are still valuable to me. I still like the ideas in my last submission too. So I thought, why don't I collate all of the various pieces I'd worked on over the year into an eBook for myself. Called it 'Travels to a Different Place' since there are pieces of a distant time as well as traveller's tales, in addition to other memoir-type items, recollections of angst and dread, whatever.

I spent the afternoon in a state of concentration, 'flow' if you will (thanks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), happily collating all the pieces into a personal eBook to pop on my own bookshelf, just for me. And maybe my family for later, if they care to delve, no worries. Definitely not for market or public consumption. I've already got an ongoing eBook for my poetic attempts, so this one is for prose. Now the neat thing about this investment of time, to me, is that I can incorporate new titles into my Scrivener file, do a quick compile, and replace the first eBook with the expanded new iteration. So my little volume of personal value can stay current with my new work in the coming term. All the digital leaves that would otherwise moulder away in a dusty corner of my laptop are now wrapped up together, and I'm looking forward to the September start of the new term already. And seriously, I had thought I was at the point of dropping out after the critiques earlier this week.

I don't know if this sort of personal strategy for a combined retrospective and a looking forward approach would work for anyone else, but for me, my personal report card helped me see where I've come from, how it's all going, and what I can try to do better. Even if the list of rejections is long -- there's still the handful of other submissions out there pending, and more to develop along with the craft.

all best wishes
Larry
 
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Maryn

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Twice now, I decided I would stop writing--for publication, for critique, for any eyes other than my own. I value my own writing, mostly enjoy the process of creating a cohesive whole, spend happy hours researching details or making up plot and character, and that alone makes writing worth the doing.

I'm glad you found a way to make the writing you do valuable for you. In the end, that's enough.

Maryn, sometimes discouraged
 

TeresaRose

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I did something like that recently. Got all my poems/thoughts together and put them in an e-book. Called it "Awful Poetry" (et al). I'm just starting out in the self-pub world and experimenting with different things.
 

LarryWinger

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Yeah! Somehow an eBook is more of a collection than a set of files, and yet it's not so set in stone as a paperback say. And putting it together is effectively free, but more than that, it's fun! It's useful, I'm sure, to consider the likely audience, whether it's the writing group, family and close friends who might indulge, or just the writer writing for themself. I was spoiled, I now think, when creating my 'year in the life of a village' because I was writing for a friendly, local audience of a couple hundred, but now I find that perhaps my imagination isn't as intriguing to others as it is to me. Like Maryn, however, I can still delight in my own self-revelations, without needing external validation. On the other hand, I've been surprised at how a kind word, a real feeling back in response to something 'wot I wrote,' can be so rewarding. It's good, if hard, to learn and practise patience, right?
 
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