Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Feeling and Writing - Again

A while back I wrote a post about feeling and writing.
The post related more to how my state of mind, my feelings, affect my writing.

Today I want to tackle it from the reverse angle - how writing affects my feelings.

Often I am told that my hide is quite thick. And it's true. I choose (note the key word here) not to get hurt by people as much as I can.

That's all very nice and works quite well in my personal life, but oh boy, it fails miserably when it comes to my writing.

Now I bet you're thinking, not another post about handling rejections...
No. Well, almost no.

I've discovered that my writing affects me in the following manner, and the order is important here, from best to worst.
  1. On days I recieve good news re my writing/submissions I'm elated. Almost panicky.
    • On very productive days, i.e. - the amount of writing done, I'm happier than on less-productive days.
    • On days where the percieved quality (by me) of my writing is fine, as on days I've revised something to my satisfaction, I'm happier.
  2. Then come the days I recieve "bad" news about my writing, and while I don't enjoy getting rejection letters, at least I feel that I'm moving on.
  3. Then come the worst days of all: those days I haven't written anything.
What's my conclusion from the list above? As long as I'm working on my writing I feel better. Not just generally feeling better but also more confident about my writing.
The days in which I've done nothing to advance my writing affect me the worse as the feeling of failure is the greatest.
So while publishing is something important, it's almost a side-effect of hard work that manifests itself in good writing (which has better chances at getting published).

Do you feel the same?

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26 comments:

erin said...

I'd say my list is about the same, but with two differences. Sometimes, the days I write garbage are just as bad as not writing at all. Not always, but sometimes. Likewise (and even less often), a really good writing day can put me in the same mood as a Validation From An Outside Source day.

elvira black said...

I haven't written for publication for awhile, but I always feel elated after I've posted to my blog. I don't do so every day, but try to post something every few days if possible. Some days I'll just scribble some notes for blog ideas; some days all I can manage is a grocery or to-do list (lol). Sometimes a good conversation or experience can be a pre-writing exercise as the ideas percolate in my brain, even if I don't write them all down. But I hear what you're saying!

Pat Kirby said...

Since I'm "sale" oriented, it's always nice to sign a contract and pop it in the mail.

Sometimes, I find success is a little distracting, pride goeth before a fall and all, and I get less done.

But the best days are those were the words are just flowing and I'm totally in the writing zone.

Deborah said...

I would have to say that the days that I'm not able to write (whether it's from a block or life getting in the way) is when I feel the worst. It's days when the words flow smoothly that I feel my best. Like Pat said, "the writing zone."

Patry Francis said...

Some days, when my writing leads me down a wrong path, it feels as bad or worse than not writing at all. But the more I write, the less I find that happening.

FredCQ said...

I wrote something similar to this on my blog. Writing always makes me feel better yet, I have to fight with myself to get down to actually doing it. Crazy! I am glad to see that someone else feels this way!

Paul Darcy said...

It is often times the journey of writing not the end product which is most satasfying.

Who am I kidding. Nothing beats a good acceptance letter. Are there bad acceptance letters?

I find the key is a little bit a day, no matter how bad you think it is or how little time you think you have.

Eric Mutta said...

Interesting. I find myself completely detached emotionally from my writing. If I write something and people like it, that naturally makes me happy. But when I'm not writing, I don't feel much 'cause I'm usually too busy doing something else.

In terms publication, I prefer a "pull" model instead of a "push" model. In the pull model, you just keep writing and make your material available for the general public.

Eventually (if what you do is good) someone will take notice, and that someone is a friend of a friend of a publisher.

The downside is that it may take years, but then again it takes years of hardwork to become an overnight success.

Carter said...

I feel the same way, Melly. I also agree with fredcq that getting my butt in the chair is the real obstacle. That's probably something to do with the whole "I don't deserve to feel good" neurosis.

Melly said...

Erin, I know what you mean about feeling bad when writing crap, but the way I look at it, at least I find the discipline to write despite knowing it's crap.
I guess I'm trying to find the positive in everything...

Elvira, I'm with you. Writing a really good post can make me feel pretty good too, although it's still not the same for me. But absolutely I agree that ideas come from everywhere.

Oh, yeah, Pat. I've had days where my head was in cloud 9 following a sale or something similar and I just couldn't bring it back down to write anything.

Melly said...

Oh Deborah, I love 'the writing zone.' Feels great.

Patry, I've had days I went completely astray in my writing, couldn't get on the right path. It's soooo frustrating. But again, I look at it all, as long as I'm writing something, as (at the very least) a learning experience. I look at no writing as no progress.

Crazy indeed, Fredcq. Same here, same here :)

Melly said...

LOL. For a moment there you had me, Paul Darcy.

Eric, you're the only person I know who could come up with this. Still chuckling. Indeed the time factor might be the same either way...
It might work for some people. I doubt it would work very well for fiction though. Dunno...

Carter, aren't we ridiculus beings. Knowing we could feel good, yet somehow... Beats me!

Eric Mutta said...

Melly:>Eric, you're the only person I know who could come up with this. Still chuckling.

Somebody has to go where no sane people have beaten a path :-)

Melly:>It might work for some people. I doubt it would work very well for fiction though. Dunno...

Me neither, which is why I'm conducting the experiment :-). I like the pull model for two main reasons:

*it shifts the focus from "get published" to "work on the writing". This works wonders for reducing stress, especially if writing is a secondary activity you do on the side.

*it helps you build an initial reader base that is globally distributed. These people will come in handy for the "word of mouth" effect in different parts of the world when you do get published.

With the internet and the advent of "push-button publishing", getting published can happen at the push of a button. If you play your cards right, the magic you can work with this is unbelievable. E.g Teh Blog Father blog is all part of this experiment.

Through it, I'm making 2.111 new friends a day. At that rate, I'll have about 770.515 friends in one year. Of the 38 or so friends made in the last 18 days, 2 worked in the publishing industry as editors. That's 5.263% of the new friends. At that rate, in one year's time, I'll have about 40.553 editors who could help me get published.

Will it work? We'll see in 347 days :-)

PS: the above elaborate scheme is what you get from a computer programmer who wont take no for an answer. It also explains why he will count humans using fractional numbers!

melly said...

Eric, this sounds more like a world domination plan...
Still chuckling.

Seriously though, if you get to know editors etc, it might just work. I do so wish it for you :)

Jennifer said...

Writing always makes me feel good. It's kind of like a sense of accomplishment.

So I think I'd have to agree with your points.

The Phoenix said...

Writing has been something I've always enjoyed, but I really haven't done in almost 10 years.

Blogging has brought me back, and I have the itch again. I'm afraid to commit though, so I'm just testing the waters through my blog.

We'll see where this leads...

Melly said...

Jennifer, I thought you would :)

The Phoenix, I totally understand you. As long as you're doing something that makes you feel good then that all that counts, right?

Stranger Ken said...

My problem with all of this is that the more I write, the more I prefer writing to life and the problem with that is obvious: the less I live, the less I have to write about, although the more time I spend accruing material to write about, the less time there is left to write about it.

dog1net said...

Melly:
Certainly I agree with many of your sentiments here. I write because I have to out of need to create and express myself. As far as publishing is concerned, I find editors can be quite fickle. Almost depends on what mood they're in on the day they read your work. Rejections, although at first discouraging, make me even more determined to put forth my very best, and to continue to develop my skills to the best of my ability.
Scot

ME Strauss said...

Stranger Ken, I know exactly what you're talking about. I'm in the same kind of bind. I have so much writing work to do I don't have a life, which means I don't experience things to write about when I do get my own time to write. Which puts me in Melly's place not feeling good about things so I don't like what I write. So I have to go do something fun. Then I stay up all night writing. OH who needs sleep.

melly said...

LOL Stranger Ken. I couldn't stop laughing. Of course it's true.
Well... like anything else in life, balance is key :)

Scot, indeed it seems we're all familiar with fickle editors ;)
I must admit I wish rejections had the same effect on me as they do on you. I tend to get a little discouraged. But not too too bad.

Liz, sleep? What's that???
Don't they say many writers ane night owls? I don't know that I'm one, because I love the mornings too, but I certainly tend to stay awake with the owls...

T L Reynolds said...

I'm not sure if I'm emotionally detached from writing, but I find the process of writing to be very similar to acting. The emotion is there, but I'm creating it. Even if I'm writing an informative article, I use a "voice" that I cannot say is my own. Does this make sense?

melly said...

It makes perfect sense to me.
It happens very rarely that my own writing affects me unless it happens to be personal, or echoing a personal experience.
The act of writing though does have an affect on me.

T L Reynolds said...

Melly,
I'm still lurking around. I'm going to go on a more focused path on my blog. I don't expect to produce anything new for a few days. I'll just be here instead:)

garnet david said...

Melly, I'm just beginning to get serious about writing. I'm so far from all you pros. (it's funny, most of my blog buddies are writers) BUT, I'm beginning to get the bug. It helps me to see how the writer's mind and soul click.

I'm still learning a lot from feedback. For me it comes in comments. I'd prefer someone tell me specifically what they don't like about a piece of mine than say nothing.

melly said...

Why thank you, T L Reynolds. I'll be more than happy to have you around :)
Just let us know when you decide to start again.

Garnet, if critical comments about your writing is what you want, then that's what you'll get.
Ask and you shall receive ;)
I try to always be honest in my comments anyway, so it's no problem for me.
I'll be over later on and tell you what I think...