Are the rejections piling up? Are you dreading the ding of another email? Do you know by heart the form rejection template? Are you this close to quitting?
Too many of us have been there, and honestly, there’s not much you can do to change the responses of agents and publishers. What you can do is change your mindset.
Here are five steps to find joy in your writing again.
Step 1: Clean up your writing space
Enjoy the process. Turn on some music, daydream as you dust, open the windows. Put away the sticky notes, spare pens, random sheets of paper, writing books. Go for minimal, at least for now.
Step 2: Choose a scent
Buy a fresh bouquet of your favorite flowers. Light a scented candle. Diffuse your favorite oils. Whatever smell makes you happy, bring it into your writing space.
Step 3: Pour a beverage
A chilled sparkling water. An apple blossom tea. A creamy hot chocolate. A glass of wine. A shot of spiced rum. What will make you happy while you write?
Step 4: Find a beautiful notebook
Yes, a notebook. Forget whatever manuscript has gotten you into a slump and start something new. Grab a nice pen and handwrite a short story or a day in the life of a character or find a writing prompt to play with.
Step 5: Write!
Luxuriate in words that sound beautiful. Creep through a spooky house. Make your heart race with an adventure in the jungle. The notebook will take away your inhibitions because you know no publishing professional is going to read it. Write as cheesy or as long-winded or as purple-prosey as you like. Break all the rules. Find a voice that makes you happy.
Then, after you’ve done all this, do it again the next day.
And the next.
Pretty soon, you’ll remember why you started writing in the first place. Not because you wanted a contract. But because writing makes your fingers itch and your blood sing.
It’s who you are.
Read more about Tamara's publication journey in "I Gave Up Writing," written for Larking Services.