Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Blame it on the Dentist

Still slightly shaky from a dentist-induced-horror-filled day on Thursday, I really mucked up yesterday.

Not being able to face another rainy day stuck in with the kids on my own, I decided to go and see my Dad. The traffic on the motorway was terrible - torrential rain/idiot driving - and after struggling through it for two hours I realised that we were missing the small boy's best friend's birthday party... Mercifully, the small boy howled for only a short time.

On reaching the supermarket near my Dad's, from where I had promised to buy lunch, I found that I had not only forgotten my coat (it was still chucking it down), but the purse that is in its pocket. I had also forgotten the baby's sleeping bag and her booster seat (i.e. essential equipment).

During the course of my visit, I showed my Dad chapter 1 of novel no.2. I am really proud of it and explained that, as I thought it much better written than previous stuff, I was hoping for an honest opinion. He read it, made a few useful comments about content, and declared that it "reads well, as ever".

My own criticism of others' work is only honest if I think it any good. If it's dire, I say something bland and vaguely positive, like 'reads well'. All the way back I struggled with the start of what has become my first serious loss of confidence. I was quite unhappy by the time I got home, whereupon I found a double rejection from Woman's Weekly on my desk...

I know I'll be all right in a few days, but I'm not enjoying this bit very much!

POST SCRIPT (8.20pm): My run of misery finally came to an end this evening when, having tripped over (something sharp) in the garden - while trying to retrieve the small boy's favourite toy from the trampoline (grrrr) - I lay in the (wet) grass until my shins had stopped stinging enough for me to get up. Back inside I kept hearing an ominous buzzing in my hair, and himself was able to extract a grumpy wasp (yes, a wasp) before it stung me. So it's not all bad.

16 comments:

HelenMH said...

Leigh, darling, don't be down. I know it's hard hard hard and believe me I've had times like this when I've just sat and cried because I've been so fed up with the whole thing. And it does feel like a kick in the teeth when you get yet another rejection when you're already feeling low. There are so many signs that you are getting close with your short stories. Don't give up.

CTaylor said...

I feel for you Leigh. I rarely let my family read my stories because the comments normally range from "I don't get it" (my brother) to "it's not really our kind of thing" (my parents) and "I started reading your story but couldn't finish it" (brother again).

Don't let it get you down. Parents/silbings/friends will never be able to give you the kind of feedback you're really after. And, if you think about it, they're like 0.000000001% of the potential audience for your novel/story so, statistically, their opinion doesn't count! :o)

SpiralSkies said...

That sounds like a truly rubbish day. Poor Leigh...

The whole rejection thing is so misery-inducing and head-bangingly frustrating, I wonder why we do it at all?

KAREN CLARKE said...

Poor you. Don't give up, you clearly can write, and Never, Ever show friends and rellies your writing. They can't ever be truly impartial, in my opinion :)

Leigh said...

Thank you Helen. This comment felt like a great big hug, and I am really grateful for it.

Cally - You're soo right, and this is a point soo worth remembering!

Jen - Because we're mad? !!

Karen - I have to show someone. There's no way I would have the confidence to send anything out otherwise! But you're right, my Dad is probably going to find it harder (than anyone else in the world) to be objective.

HelenMH said...

I think the problem with showing stuff to people who don't write is that they don't really understand what kind of feedback it is that you need. Your friend Jane sounds pretty good at this though - presumably because she also writes. I'd be happy to look at the odd thing for you if you like. Obviously I have no particular expertise and am very much in the same postion as you in terms of trying to get things accepted. But if you just want an honest constructive opinion from a reader who also writes I'd be happy to do that.

email me via my blog if that would help.

Moondreamer said...

Oh my goodness! What a nightmare few days you've had, Leigh!

I can't comment on your other writing, but reading your blog is a pleasure ... it's witty and warm and very interesting.

And it 'reads well!' I know what you mean about 'bland and vaguely positive' but perhaps your Dad's honest opinion was that it was indeed good, and that your writing usually is!

Be gentle with yourself! :o)

Leigh said...

Helen, this is such a kind offer, and I'm tempted to send you a shorty right away (although I would be worried about you trying to humour me instead!). My father is very well qualified for doing crits, but I forget that my genre is not his field (not by a long way)!

Moondreamer - What a lovely lady you are! You have reminded me that I need to be a friend to myself. This is a valuable reminder, and I am grateful.

womagwriter said...

Leigh - I hope the wasp not stinging you is a sign things are about to get better. Have a hug, use a Woman's Weekly in the cat-litter tray as revenge for the rejections, and keep writing.

Maddie Moon said...

Aw, Leigh, sorry that you've had a rotten few days. Rejections always stink and it's not always easy to pick yourself up and send them out there again. But have another look, another tweak and send them on their way again. Is there a writing group near to you you could join or an online critting group?

Leigh said...

Womagwriter - We're trying to encourage Rudy to go outside really, and offering him such a tempting target as W'sW might be counterproductive!! Perhaps if I didn't tell him...

Maddie - I don't mind the rejections themselves - I'm content that they are part of writing - it's that they always hit me on bad days that bothers me! I've not joined a writers' group or online forum because I'm coy about having strangers read my work. I recognise that this is completely daft, seeing as I hope to be published in national magazines! Rational? Moi?

Maddie Moon said...

Hee, hee, I think you probably need to get over that one, Leigh! I'm the opposite, I'm quite happy for strangers to read my work, but really don't like my family reading it, even when it's published. Really though, other writers reading your work and commenting upon can be of great encouragement and help.

Maddie Moon said...

Oops, think I need a copy editor for that last comment. You know whatI mean!

Leigh said...

Maddie - You're quite right! I get quite nervous before sending things off - reopening the envelope at least five times to check that everything's right.
I know I'll have more confidence once I've actually sold something!

Moondreamer said...

You're so welcome, Leigh!

Dr. Phil (ok, I admit, am an Oprah fan!) said once: Look in the mirror, and if that person has given up on you, then you're in touble!

I hope this week makes up for last week :o)

Leigh said...

Thank you, Moondreamer! I like the mirror analogy, and shall remember that too!

Yes, feeling better now, thank you!