Tag Archives: writing

Tackling the rejection blues

Confession: Hi everyone. I’m a writer and I have an inner running back.

It’s not a peduncled growth scooting along on my body. Good guess, but no. It’s a position on a football team and I have an imaginary one.

I was able to make the leap from writer to author because my inner running back wouldn’t let me give into the rejection blues. My second book, Omega Rising, wouldn’t be coming out in two weeks without it.

Oh no, you’re thinking, this post is about football about which I care diddly-squat. First of all, football and writing are surprisingly connected. And second, football is awesome.  GO BEARS!

In football, the running backs take a lot of punishment in pursuit of their ultimate goal – scoring. Their job is to take the hand-off from the quarterback and find a way through the defense, whose job it is to stop the run.  It’s called grind-it-out football. Yes, it’s a thing. Google it. A running back gets tackled a lot. A helluva lot.

I see you are beginning to make the connection.

Succeeding at writing is freaking hard. Writers get tackled. Perhaps not body slammed to the turf by several 280-pound angry men in pads and helmets (if that is the case with you I must point out you are doing this writing thing ALL WRONG), but tackled nonetheless.

Rejections = tackles. Rejections bruise our pride and rattle our confidence. It can have the emotional impact of being steam-rolled by a defensive line. Writing is hard. We are rejected. Running backs are rejected at the line of scrimmage ALL THE TIME.

It takes courage to submit our words out there then wait to deemed worthy or unworthy by strangers. The fact you can do this at all makes you a badass already. Take a bow. You’ve earned it.

It’s hard to remember that a rejection is a business decision. It is simply a no-thank-you-it’s-not-right-for-us-at-this-time. Or in the case of a RB, no-you-shall-not-gain-yards-on-this-play-in-fact-you-lose-yards-now-haha-boom.

(For those non-football folks still reading that’s a terrible outcome for your team which causes people to throw down their chicken wings in disgust and yell at the TV)

It is NOT omg-what-in-the-name-of-all-that’s-holy-was-this-hot-garbage-you-submitted-we-vomited-after-reading-it-you’re-awful.

Your inner running back already knows rejection, while sucky, isn’t personal.   Do RBs give up? Um, big fat NO THEY DO NOT. They get back into the huddle to grind it out a few yards at a time.

And yes I know they get paid millions but they also have a love of the game and a burn to succeed, just like…wait for it, you know it’s coming… writers who want to be successful authors.

My personal inner RB drops an F-bomb or a ten after a rejection because it clears my angst allowing me to evaluate the “no thanks”, learn from it if someone took the time to offer encouragement, then put it aside and write on. You can take a page from Stephen King and nail those rejections to the wall. Shoot at ’em with a staple gun. Let your dog eat them then excavate the paper from a steaming turd pile and offer it to the poop muse. Whatever.

It can’t stop you because you are a badass. Try again. Practice harder. Get better. Get back in the huddle. Try again. And again. Until you find that hole in the defense  and slip through. Get your end zone dance ready.



Dumping the muse


I don’t have a lot of time today so here’s my haiku for today:

The  elusive muse

dances coyly near then far

Eff off I got this

Blasphemy? Nah.

Fiction writers are fiction writers because of our imaginations, not because of some ethereal muse who may or may not show up when you need it. BREAKING: you are your muse.

Or to be more precise, your brain is your muse. If you loll about on your couch waiting for a muse to sprinkle backstories and plot twists and character flaws down upon you like fairy dust you’ll be lolling and NOT writing.

So you march that idea of a muse right the eff off.

Instead you’ve got to exercise your muse (or more precisely called the cerebellar oblongamakeshitup center, or COC, because it sounds a little dirty and I like it).  Instead of counting steps or reps, it’s butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

But Anna, you wail, I write best when I’m inspired by my muse.

That’s awesome. But also bullshit. Inspiration isn’t an outside force. The call is coming from inside the house. It’s your COC.

For example, when starting a brand new story I love lolling about on my oversize rocker (I now very much love the word lolling ) but my brain is sifting through possibilities. All drawn from experiences and interests and things I’ve read, seen, smelled, heard, tasted, etc.. that make my COC uniquely me.

Just as your COC is uniquely you. No one can write YOUR story, so only you make it happen.

Get them all down – seriously, you WILL forget some – and continue stimulating that COC (what? there’s no way in hell that my main character could be a giant forced into the seedy underbelly of the dwarf-throwing world. Unless…).  Once on paper or on screen you can whittle them down. Sadly, my giant-in-dwarf-world MC didn’t make the cut…this time. But I’m still calling dibs. DIBS.

Just like there’s no crying in baseball, no I in team, no fire without a spark, no place like home, erm, sorry off track a bit.

There is no fairy dust in writing.  So  when you pull an idea from your own COC that is amazing, absolutely freaking perfect for your story, you should happy-dance, do the Kermit flail. It’s a beautiful moment and it’s muse-free.

It’s all you, baby.



4 Reasons To Fail and LOVE it #NaNoWriMo

Yeah, okay I’m failing at NaNoWriMo. Last year on this date I crossed the 50,000 mark, validated, then passed out on the floor. Yes. EARLY. Today my word count is less than 25,000.

Why am I smiling? Well, I’ll tell you.

1          Because I’m failing like a rock star and by that I mean I’m lovin’ every minute of it. That’s a Loverboy reference to those unschooled in Continue reading 4 Reasons To Fail and LOVE it #NaNoWriMo

All aboard the #NaNo train


It’s nearly mid-October and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is less than three weeks away. What? How did that happen?!  The fake spider webs in bushes and tombstones in front yards and good Lord the pumpkins, well now they’re everywhere. Turns out those are the reminders of NaNo AND Halloween.

The occasional tweets and emails are increasing daily (much like Continue reading All aboard the #NaNo train