Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Writing Break (My Writing Depression)

I didn't write much in December. I wasn't sure why at the time, but the spark just wasn't there. Part of it was that my wife had a good chunk of the first part of the month off from work, and we spent a lot of time together doing fun things and getting ready for the holidays, but there was something else under the surface that I couldn't quite put my finger on. As the month went on, the itch to write started to get to me, but I had no problem telling myself to wait until the beginning of the year to start off right. This made perfect sense to me.

Though it shouldn't have, and I didn't know why.

Then I figured it out. I'd let myself become a bit depressed with writing because of the novel I was sending out to agents. I wasn't even getting a "let me see more," and though I know it's all a part of the game, especially with the way the business is nowadays, it still got to me. It sucked the joy out of writing, and since I didn't diagnose it, the depression with the business festered inside of me until I didn't want to work on anything. Luckily (or unluckily), I had that magic mark of "The New Year" coming up. I can't help wondering if this depression had hit me in, say, July, if I would have either not waited so long to start writing, or if I would have stopped for a much longer time.

Anyway, I did figure out what was wrong. I've always told myself to not take anything in this business personal when it came to submissions; if someone doesn't want the story, try someone else. I let my guard down, though, and it seized me, freezing my writing life for a month. Now that I'm back in the game, I'm feeling stronger about my writing life, and I also feel confident I won't let that depression sneak up on me again. I know the signs now and can confront them head on. I plan big things for myself this year, and I don't want to self-sabotage.

So why am I sharing this? I want to remind everyone to not take rejection so personally. I know it's hard, but if you let it get to you, it can sabotage all of your writing, not just the project that is not earning the praise you believe it should. Yes, it's okay to feel bad for a bit when you get that rejection letter, but know that you're doing it so you can keep it in check and move on after that initial wallow in pity. Human nature sometimes makes it hard, but to make it in this business, it's a necessity. I just hope I've learned my lesson.