The Magical Realism of Life of Pi

The Magical Realism of Life of Pi
Review by Margie Taylor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Self-Doubt:The Worst Distraction for Writers

"Talking Writing," is a great e resource for writers to be found at http://talkingwriting.com.  This e magazine is full of great tips.  From a much longer article by Tarn Wilson, the following three tips to defeat self doubt.  Check it out.

Strategy 1: Fake It Till You Make It 

When I was honest with myself, I recognized I was ambivalent about publishing. I believed, under some karmic law, that focusing on my own desires would ensure my failure: You are trying to get attention, prove your worth. No reasonable counterargument—publishing is a brave and generous way to participate in the cultural dialogue—could stop my fear that I was self-centered.  
Because I couldn't come up with a good answer for why I should publish, I decided to ignore the question. Instead, I faked it: I pretended to be a healthy writer. I acted as if submissions were an undramatic part of the writing process and hunkered down at my desk no matter how aggressively my negative thoughts pounded. The work endured, while the internal distractions eased from a roar to gentle lapping.    

Strategy 2: Set Aside One Day a Week for Business

One of my former mentors, poet and memoirist Peggy Schumaker, sets aside a day a week for the business side of writing. I imitated her, and the compartmentalization helped. My creative mind attended to writing, my business mind focused on submissions—and my emotions had less room to weasel into either.

Strategy 3: Commit to a Ridiculous Number of Submissions

Here's the common wisdom: Research the markets and blast your work to dozens and dozens of possibilities, expecting vast numbers of rejections. At first, I rebelled. I'd navigated my life—jobs, moves, choices for higher education—not by research, but by intuition and with great success. Why not use that strategy to decide where to send my essays?
Because my approach bombed. If I wanted to be published, I soon realized that I had to commit to a ridiculous number of submissions. So, I signed up for list-servs and created spread sheets in which I track markets. I began to regularly check relevant websites and blogs, read new essays I admire, and note who is publishing whom. Now I receive more rejections than ever, but enough happy acceptances to bolster my courage and to energize my work.

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