This week: The Power of DoubtEdited by: Jay (away for a while)
More Newsletters By This Editor
1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions
Sometimes there is no reasoning with yourself as a writer, and that's only the half of it. What do you do when you are all out of ideas?
This past month, I've had what I have attempted to cheerfully refer to as a "rejectathon." Lots of story rejections, agent rejections, novel rejections, publishing upheavals...
If I didn't know better, I'd say it's Mercury Retrograde and move on with my life, but... In any case, as I'm fond of saying, especially in the contemporary moment, "What a year this month has been."
So I'm really trying to refill the well, and one of the essential components there, despite popular opinion on the topic, is doubt.
Hear me out: I think self-doubt is an important component of your writing toolbox. When used carefully, rarely, and with intention, doubt is a useful tool. Doubt is what you use to determine whether a story is ready to submit to that contest or publisher.
Sometimes, self-doubt is not useful. It tells you not to send out a story before it's ready. It gives you a gut-check on all of the basics of publishing, and sometimes it can prevent you from taking good opportunities or makes you wait or hesitate. But there are other times where taking that extra minute to check your formatting, reread that paragraph, run spellcheck, look over those guidelines one last time--that's a valuable message that can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Don't let your doubt run your writing life, on the other hand. Let it cause you to ask a friend for one quick critique (that you'll return the favor on when you get the chance!) but not to shelve everything you've been working toward. Doubt should not be what keeps you from trying to succeed--it should be the tool you use to quickly check your work before you head out on your way.
Until next time,
Take care and Write on!
This Issue's Picks!
Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!
Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!
Don't forget to support our sponsor!
From "Finding the Right Story Sparks"
If you could see me right now you'd laugh. I'm doing a happy dance. I thought I was the only one that struggled with what I thought were great stories, but couldn't translate into a novel! The idea was great, but Now What??? What is the goal? Motivation? Conflict? Sometimes I have 1 or 2 of the 3 but you need all three to make a complete story. "So What?" I ask myself of the plot. If I can't answer, I skip a few pages in my notebook and start another story.
This sounds like a great plan to me! I have a very similar folder and a notebook situation that is.... wellllll, not unlike Agatha Christie according to what I have heard. So I try to let that keep me motivated when I find I have accidentally written half of one thing in one notebook and the other half in some other notebook. I've also just recently discovered "discbound" notebooks which can be FREELY REARRANGED and they are... life-changing. XD
D Carlson writes:
I was reminded of a story I've been working on. I had a number of (I thought) unrelated Cool Ideas, but I was completely stuck. After a while, I read through them, and discovered they were the same story, but at different points in the timeline, and from three different POVs. A bit of C/P over here, make this bit a backstory there, take a paragraph or two from this other dead story, etc, and I now have a working story.
Yep, that's an excellent example of how to make use of those extra pieces! Good work!
Got any questions about the craft of short stories for me? Late me know and I'll be happy to address them next issue!
To stop receiving this newsletter, click here for your newsletter subscription list. Simply uncheck the box next to any newsletter(s) you wish to cancel and then click to "Submit Changes". You can edit your subscriptions at any time.