Just a sort little post, largely because speaking about myself in any personal capacity makes me do the keyboard equivalent of motor-mouth and then run out of the room.
The point is quite simple. Looking back twelve months or so from now, I was in a totally different position to where I am now. Writing wise, I had nothing accepted in paid print, and while I was working on submission calls, there was nothing in the bag, so to speak. By Christmas last year, I had a couple of acceptances – three to be accurate – but I’m rather ashamed to admit, I responded poorly to them.
Quite simply, instead of confronting my own self-doubt (though mind you it’s more vitriolic when it really gets going, because it is self-hating, anyway), I merely brushed these events off to the side. I let myself do what I had done for a long time, and that was reasoning that the good event had come about by bad consequences.
For example, it would be thinking that I got accepted into something because the rest of the slushpile was poor. Or even that the editor had made a mistake – I believe we’ve all come across writing that we’ve stopped and thought ‘how did this get in print?’ Regardless, the core mechanic was the same – sabotaging good feelings. It sounds a bit bizarre, but I guess that’s how it works – it’s harder to accept that you might have done well when you have poor esteem in that regard. And so, I kept on with that process, not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t know how to maintain any good feeling, without, paradoxically, feeling bad about it.
Fast forward to the present, and I’m staring down quite a list of acceptances. Usually, you could put one or two down as mistakes, but unless a whole bunch of different editors have gone and made the same mistake in some freak alignment of fate… Nope, not likely. So that means I now can’t really escape from having to consider that I might be some good at what I do. And let me stress, while my head wants to feel happy about it, it just doesn’t translate across into feeling. Instead, it only really makes me aware that I feel empty inside about something I should – that I know – I am passionate about.
I kind of needed to get that off my chest a bit. I don’t know what’ll happen about these feelings. Again, I want to feel better, but I’m just waiting for that feeling to come through.