Wasting words?

I set some new writing goals for myself at the beginning of the month.  I had just watched another birthday pass and decided it was time to write some new year’s resolutions.  The year was new to me, and this seems to be more sensible I think, more personal than the start of the calendar year, and maybe that means I will be more likely to keep them.  One item on my list is to submit something, somewhere, every month.

I find writers’ websites, social media posts, and emails listing Calls for Submissions and writing contests all the time.  I have also heard that writing short stories is great practice for would-be authors.  With those considerations, on top of the dreaded “write every day” adage I addressed in the last post, I decided to try this out.  Maybe having short stories to write and contests and such to which I could submit them will help me have a focus for writing everyday, even if the characters in my novel are not currently speaking to me.

Yet I find myself stumped once more in regards to my question – Am I wasting my words?

I don’t believe writing short stories is a waste of words, don’t get me wrong.  What I don’t know though is how to decide which publications and contests are worth giving those words to.

Every writer fears to submit his or her work to some degree.  It means handing over one’s soul for others to judge.  To me, submitting fresh stories to these contests and Calls for Submission seem twofold in the fear department.  Not only do I risk rejection, no one ever gets completely comfortable with that.  If someone says she is, she’s lying, or she doesn’t care and therefore isn’t really a writer.  But I also find myself afraid of giving over what could possibly be a wonderful piece of work to a less than stellar handler, the risk being finding out the piece was worthy of publication and is now lost to the ether in a place that no one reads.

What if that was my one breakthrough piece and I wasted it somewhere it would never be seen?  Many publications do not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published work, you see.

So am I wasting my words sending off stories I work hard on to all these calls and contests?

Is it possible to waste one’s words?  Or does the effort and practice make the potential loss worth it?

And how does one really know which are the worthy receivers?

Lastly, is it silly of me even to wonder and fear, considering my work may not be good enough to publish anywhere, ever, anyway?

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You MUST Stay Positive When You Job Hunt, But No It’s Not Easy

Staying positive, in and of itself, when you are searching for a job is not only a daunting task, but is honestly really crucial to your search.  There is so much negativity that can both surround and spring from job hunting, it can be truly difficult to stay positive.  I struggle with it all the time.  Sometimes I lose.  Sometimes I have really tough moments, or even really tough days (yep, plural).  But I bounce back (okay maybe it’s more of a slow rise than a bounce on occasion, nonetheless, back up I go…) and I know I have to keep it up, keep ME up, or I will lose the whole war, not just the battle.

The tough moments come sometimes out of the blue, or are sometimes caused by rejection, but mostly I think it is the slow, blind, grinding of hours and days spent looking at hundreds of job openings and, though I write cover letter after cover letter, resume tweak after resume tweak, nothing happens.  It wears down my resolve, frays my nerves and makes one tiny word grow louder and louder in my head until all my positive energy is used up trying to drown it out.  “WHY?”  grumbles, pesters, screams across my thoughts and all of a sudden I find myself feeling oh-so-NOT-positive.

“Why can’t I find a job if there are so many job openings?”

“Why don’t I get any callbacks?”

“Why did I decide to __________ in my past so I don’t look more hireable now?”

“Why doesn’t anybody want me?”

“Why am I such a failure?”

Yep, I know, extreme, negative, depressing, supremely unhelpful.  But sometimes that’s just the way it goes.  And when it does, there’s a big ugly black hole pulling me away from any progress I could be making.

My logical brain knows (thank goodness) that all those Why’s are unproductive, if not downright crazy.  I know most jobs listed online are already filled internally or by people who know the right people.  I know the thousands of applications swirling around with mine out there in the Monster-ous ether are too much for any one hiring manager to deal with.  I know that I have lived a great life and would not be who I am today if I had made different decisions.  I know that this wild, and currently fruitless, hunt is no reflection on my self worth and my significance to others.  I KNOW those things.  I still feel like crap anyway, some days.  But luckily, since I KNOW, I also now know that the craziness is my signal to take a break, instead of kicking myself for feeling bad, thence feeling even worse.

When I am feeling terrible about, well, the whole d@mn thing, I know that I will NOT write as well, I will NOT be as creative in my approach to either search or application, I will NOT be as efficient, I will NOT apply for jobs at or above my goal/experience/salary level, but only to those my crazy, negative brain thinks I am worthy of (fast food? really?), etc etc etc.  I simply will be wasting my time and leaping into that black hole of sad insanity.  Neither of those are good things, should you wonder; I have tried them and advise that you don’t.  So when the WHYs get so loud they begin to make me sad, I stop.  I stop hunting, digging, writing, applying, brainstorming, staring blankly…  and walk away from it all for just a little while and I get better.

I have to admit that I don’t know the exact reason behind my change back from a negative to a positive mindset all the time.  Once in a while I just get the pleasant surprise of randomly feeling better and taking another step forward, like the cliche “sun coming out from behind the clouds.”  Most of the time though, I see the negative slide and have gotten to know myself well enough after all these crazy, adventurous years to know what/who/where helps me to turn myself around.  Staying positive, or getting back to feeling positive, is very personal, what I do may not be beneficial to you at all.  I’ll give some of my suggestions in another post, but really you have to get to know yourself and find Your best ways of turning the mess around.  It’s worth it, now and in the long run, when we find our dream Jobs! Right?! right??

Dealing With Rejection 1

I wish that job rejections could all come in hard copies somehow.  Well, I wish all job rejections would actually come, rather than just leaving you waiting and wondering, but that’s another story.

The reason I wish rejections would come on paper is because a friend of mine inspired me years ago with her amazingly creative way of Dealing with Rejection.  She was a writer, and an artist, and was submitting her poetry/fiction manuscript to publishers.  She decided to get an old toilet, from scrap somewhere or something I don’t know, and plaster all her rejection letters on it.

I was so impressed with her creative idea of how to turn her rejections from little pieces of pain and sadness into humor and art.  She was so strong.

Now, I wouldn’t copy her idea, it was hers, and besides, where the heck would I put a random toilet in my little apartment?  But somehow it does seem it would be easier to find a creative way to deal with rejection if you could hold it in your hands, even if it just meant being able to shred them into confetti to use at the party you throw to celebrate when you finally get the job/contract.  That would be fun.

Thanks Lesa, I hope success came too quickly and your toilet only got partially plastered.