Thursday, 12 March 2015

Band Project Update/Feeling Demoralised

It hasn't been a good week writing-wise. I had a rejection on Monday from Woman's Weekly, saying the story had a 'well-worn theme'. I was an 'also read' in last Saturday's Write Invite, which means my story was in the bottom three (this was a 'band themed' story based on Jack Savoretti). Then I had another rejection today, this time from The People's Friend who said that one of my characters came across as 'cold' and the other didn't have enough development for a 4,000 word story. Getting published is tough. Sticking at it when the going gets rough is difficult. Having an editor 'diss' your characters is painful.

The band themed story project has ground to a bit of a halt. I've almost reached the last of the bands nominated by Facebook friends and it was getting to the stage where I couldn't face writing another story on that theme. In fact, I'm writing a longer story, which began as something based on Anything But The Girl, and put in references to the next five bands on the list (Radiohead, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Strokes, Volbeat and The 69 Eyes). A bit of a cheat, but it seemed to work. Again, this story is unfinished!

On Sunday I decided to do a few calculations to make me feel a little better about the whole band themed project. Up to that point, my total word count from 5th January to 8th March was 55,878. I had completed 36 stories and 19 stories were unfinished, so a total of 55 stories written. Not bad for two months work. Two stories were Top Ten in Write Invite, then I got a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th and a 5th placing with four other band stories. My Thin Lizzy band story was longlisted in the 17th Word Hut Competition. Maybe I shouldn't beat myself up too much?

This week I decided I'd finish off a few of those 19 unfinished stories. I've only managed to finish one so far (Moody Blues). I haven't been writing with my writing buddy on a daily basis as I had been doing, as we both felt we needed a break from the routine. I admit I feel I need to recharge my batteries writing-wise and I need to do more reading.

So... what has this crazy band-themed short story project taught me so far? It's taught me discipline - turning up at the keyboard every day to write. It's taught me stamina - pushing on through, despite not feeling in the mood or particularly inspired. And motivation - I've had a reason to turn up at the keyboard to write instead of some vague idea of what I'm going to do. I've realised that I work better with a factual framework and a list of prompts. It has also taught me that, if I can write over 55,000 words in two months, then I could get the first draft of a new novel completed in 3-4 months. I guess that will be my next target.

The funny thing is that I'd almost forgotten that I now have 36 new stories to send out to competitions and magazines. The submission process can be time-consuming, as I may invest some time over the next few days doing just that.

I've also been worrying all week about a trip to Windsor on Saturday. I have to do the two hour drive with Megan and her best friend to take them to a Dr Who 'Day Of The Doctors' event at a hotel there (specifically to meet Tom Baker). It means leaving the house at 6.45am (I'm not a morning person, especially at weekends) and not getting home till around 8pm. I guess that will be test of stamina in itself. Wish me luck!