The tenth rejection of the year came in this morning. After doing some quick research and resending the story, I went in to update my submission tracker (hint number one for writers: always update your submission tracker. Yes, right now). Then I spent about an hour making this face at the computer:
Afterwards I went and sang Creep at the top of my lungs in the shower. It helped, although I suspect the neighbours now regard my off-key crooning of the line “I wish I was special” over and over as evidence that I may, in fact, be exactly that*.
Now, to be explicitly clear, the frowny-face of doom wasn’t actually directed at my rejection (me, I love my rejections; it means I’m doing my job ). No, the frown was directed at the visual evidence that I’ve been letting things slide on the writing front for over a year, and it really was time to start picking up my game if I wanted to do little things like a) pay my phone bill, b) eat, and c) take over the world.
You see, I’d known for a while that I was somewhat slack in 2009. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, then odds are you’ll remember be bitching about it rather consistently. But the time-frames writing operates under means you can be slack for an entire year and it’ll still take six months or more for the effects to register, and there’s one thing apparent now that was easy to miss back then: 2010 is likely to be the first downward trend in every metric** I use to track how well my writing is going since 2006. In fact, given that it’s already July and I’ve only sold one story and a novella, it’s likely to be dropping to 20% of last years output.
I suspect I can improve on that a little if I gear up and go crazy for the next five months – and lord knows there’s plans to try – but right now I find myself wishing for a time machine so I can go back and slap myself silly. Much as I’d like to buy into the excuses I offered myself last year, the sheer dissatisfaction I feel right now suggests I need to eliminate them from my vocabulary. After all, 2008 was a much busier and suckier year than ’09, and even then I managed to do more and do it better.
*Considering I spent yesterday trying to answer the question “exactly how many songs to Green Day have about masturbation”, I think it’s safe to say they’ll be happy when my house-sitting stint is done.
** For those who are interested, these are in approximate order of importance: Number of submissions; number of new stories; Advancement on long-term Projects (Novel drafts, etc); New Things Attempted; Number of sales; number of pro-level sales; amount of money earned from short fiction; interesting offers and invitations to submit; and number of words written over the course of the year.