Step 1: Stare at the computer in horror. Do this for as long as you have to, to let it really SINK IN.
Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash
Step 2: Physically express yourself. Scream. Cry. YELL. Do all 3 and then some. If you are going to throw something across the room make sure you don’t have any strong attachment to the item, it is not heavy/sharp/strong, and also, you don’t care about your flooring/it is virtually unbreakable.
Step 3: Keep crying and telling yourself self-defeating words. Things like:
“I’m a failure.”
“I am shit.”
“I am a shit writer AND I’m just plain shit.”
“I can’t fucking write.”
“I got rejected for a fucking writing course…”
And so on. If you have come this far you are doing well. Your self-loathing is working brilliantly.
Step 4: Wallow in self-pity. Pick someone who has to put up with you (i.e partner, parent, sibling) and tell them how shit you are. Cry as you are doing so. Tell them all your sorrows, including that time in grade 4 when you walked into a pole at school and your canteen partner laughed their head off at you. Go on.
Step 5: More than likely you have just been yelled at and scolded by your loved one. Go off and sulk for about 37 minutes.
Step 6: Ok you’re back. Now I want you to ask yourself…
“Are you going to let this beat you?”
That just jarred you didn’t it? You expected me to tell you to go cut some onions and rub them over your eyelids after all that self-hatred and the pity party you just attended with yourself as the star D-grade celebrity.
But SmikG is getting glass half-full right now and she is gonna whoop your ass.
Sit down! You’re not going anywhere.
Step 7: Ask yourself some more questions. Things like:
“Are you going to let one individual/organisation dictate what you can do?
“Will you someone else control your belief of yourself?”
“Is this one incident going to make you stop writing? Really? This ONE thing?”
At this stage, you may want to wallow in some more self-defeating talk for a couple more moments. Go on, whimper. Sniffle. Get some Kleenex super soft tissues, from the Aloe Vera range you weak piece of shit.
Step 8: “Are you REALLY going to let this get you down?”
“You know… you’re not that shit.”
“You’re actually, not bad.”
NOW we’re talking.
Step 9: Time to recall some famous writer stories.
J.K Rowling. An unemployed and poor single mother goes from her Harry Potter manuscript being rejected 12 times before finally getting picked up… but even so, her editor encourages her to get a teaching job as it is unlikely she will earn much from writing children’s books.
She is now worth over 1 billion dollars (read, BILLION) with her name to one of the best-selling series in the world with 450 million copies SOLD.
Stephen King. Rejected his own story, Carrie, only to find his wife had taken it out of the garbage with the note for him to finish it. It was rejected over 30 times, but was eventually picked up and even turned into a movie.
He has over 50 novels to his name, has written hundreds of short stories, and remains one of the great fiction writers of this generation.
Dr Seuss. He had been rejected 27 times, and was literally on his way home to burn the manuscript when he bumped into an old friend. When he spoke of his woes from “a book no one will publish” his friend (also a children’s editor… how “co in-chi-den-che” – see the Tomei-Downey Jr. movie Only You for reference!♥ ) he read it and it was published.
He went on to write over 60 children’s books and remains a classic children’s writer through the ages.
Step 10: Woah. Now we are feeling just a little bit invincible. Almost like the way we felt when we first ventured into the writing world with fear and trepidation, hovering over the keyboard as we posed those first few words.
But we need something else.
Inject some creativity in your life… in the form of, MUSIC.
My fave go-to: Something loud and pumping, ROCK is real good.
Queen, for example.
Prince doing his Beautiful Ones where he screeches at the end is also uplifting in a very RAW way.
Or you know, on the other spectrum we can go ‘alternative/new wave rock’ and play something like INXS’ Need You Tonight… you know the story, of how Andrew Farriss famously made the taxi driver who was meant to take him to the airport, wait an hour as he wrote the riff to the song? He then passed it onto Michael, who quickly penned the words to what would become the song… incredible.
You need to surround yourself with genius. Genius thoughts. Genius inspiration. Genius creativity.
Step 11: Ok, we are HERE. Perhaps you feel so unstoppable, so charged, the muse starting to move within you, that something you scribble on toilet paper while passing a bowel movement (why do you have a pen in there?) can be considered LEGENDARY.
“What am I going to do next?”
“What course will I look at?”
“What can I learn from this?”
Start work-shopping ideas to get around your initial rejection.
Step 12: Start with this quote by Albert Einstein: “Failure is success in progress.”
NEXT, sit at your computer.
And start writing.