If we were having coffee right now, I would easily have three or four of them because the wind is cold and the room is freezing. My mother thinks the four layers of thermals and sweaters I’m wearing are too much, but to my body they still don’t feel warm enough.
I’m in a really positive mood today – I finished touching up a flash story and sent it for publication to four-five magazines. As I said, it’s one my goals this year to get published on ten platforms, and after receiving my first acceptance three days into the new year, I was fired up to work harder and send more stuff out.
But to do that I’ve also got to have stories that are good enough to be seen by someone else than me. When I’m writing, I cannot bear anyone reading my work over my shoulder. I don’t share my writing with anyone (even on this blog) until I’m completely confident about it. Not to mention I don’t really have anyone to share my work with. My mother will read it if she has the time, but she won’t be able to tell me what worked and what didn’t. I need someone who understands and loves reading stories.
And I’ve been lucky to find someone like that. I’d contacted my friend and author Abigail Shepherd, who I met on Instagram and who has so kindly offered to have a look at my work. When months later I finally had something I thought was good enough, I sent it to her. She replied with her comments which helped me see where I needed to improve and where my writing was actually good. It was nice to have someone else look at my work – a different mind, a different perspective. I made the changes and sent the story and within a week I received an acceptance.
I’ll always be grateful to Abigail for each time she has helped me. A year and half of blogging and being a part of the writers’ community on Instagram has given me a lot of things to cherish and be thankful for – the support, the encouragement, the critiques and the love. These people help each other, cheer you up and are always there for you to fall back upon. I’m not much of a social person and sometimes news from the outside world makes me feel hopeless – people feeling lonely, the lack of love and bonding among friends and family. But then I go online and the internet is flooded with so much of positivity and support. Abigail is one of the few close friends I’ve made through the internet. She has been like a guide. I’ll say it again – I can never thank her enough.
I remember back when I’d started this blog, I’d written a post about how amazing the blogging community was and how comforting it was to have a platform to express myself without any worry or fear of embarrassment. It amazes me just as much today.
Another thing I wanted to tell you about was this problem of mine I often struggle with and have talked about before: my habit of overthinking. A few days ago I’d sent Abigail another one of my stories for her to comment on and tell me some of her editing methods so that I didn’t have to bother her every time. Her response made me beyond happy:
I honestly don’t think this needed as much work as you thought! … I think you need to have more confidence in your own ability as a writer, you’re really good.
This might not mean much to anyone, but it has given me some confidence and reassurance. I’d thought getting published would do that for me, but instead I’m worried whether the next stories I send out will be just as good. The uninspired week that followed was even more disconcerting. I’ve read on a lot of places on the internet that some fear is good to drive you, but I think everything happens to me with far more intensity than needed. Every time I sit down to write, I learn something new about myself and more about the process.
It’s hard. It needs motivation and time and persistence. Not all days are good days. Sometimes you’ve got to push it forward, sometimes it takes your hand and takes you to new places. It’s exciting and horrible and punishing and rewarding all at the same time.I’m sometimes stuck. The Hufflepuff in me is willing to work hard, but the overthink-er in me is discouraging. Everything I do and think about is always contradictory. The only way forward I see is to keep working with the fear and doubt hovering above me. Is there any other solution?
If you have character, endeavor, personality, courage and the capacity for concentrated labor, you will do what is your destiny – and, perhaps, even do it well. – Ariel Durant