That February Hump

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on last week’s post about the publication of my flash fiction piece “Friday Afternoon, Third Trimester” in AntipodeanSF. I truly appreciate your support!

It’s a little quiet around here. I’m (gasp!) busy writing more stories. With plans to send work to at least four submission calls in March, I’m currently at the second-draft stage with three new stories, ready to workshop with my critique group.

(Note to other writers: writing groups are gold, aren’t they? If you don’t have a trusted beta reader or two, or other writers with whom to swap feedback, I suggest you find some immediately! Social media and writing communities can help point you in the right direction.)

group of four young adults in a kitchen with various books, paper, texts, writing implements and refreshments scattered about
How I imagine a critique group might have looked before COVID…
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Apart from the new work, I’m also engaged in my usual cycle of ‘receive rejection –> revise –> send back out’! Although currently at my lowest number of simultaneous submissions in nearly a year, I’m sure this will be a short lull. Perhaps it is a February hump: like hump-day Wednesday, that mid-week slump, but for the first quarter of the year…

male with East Asian features and large glasses, business suit, slumped on arms on a desk, one hand with a finger raised like it was tapping, facing an open white laptop
Waiting
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That rejection-resubmission cycle might make it sound like I’m resilient, but trust me: every instance still stings. Especially when I receive multiple in a row, sometimes even on the same day. Cue sad moping with my coffee for an extra half an hour.

But the mood is tempered by occasional personal feedback on a rejection, which is rare enough to be uplifting by itself. Feedback lets me know either why an editor/reader did not accept my submission, and/or what might need improving. Sometimes it is a case of not being the right time for the piece, not a great fit for the magazine, or similarly not a great fit for the current theme they have in mind. Sometimes I might need to work on the piece more to achieve a better reception.

Not everyone will love what you write. It’s a hard truth, but an important one. More important is recognising when the audience is not the issue: your writing is.

That’s why I love my critique partners. We give each other constructive feedback on what makes a piece work… and not. What might be missing, what might make it stronger, and what really resonates with the reader. And we make sure to do this reciprocally. Because we learn by giving as well as receiving.

(Sometimes I wish people remembered that in everyday life as well.)

In the meantime, I’ll be back at my desk, writing.

Neil Gaiman quote on a background of a typewriter closeup: Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
Neil Gaiman quote on an image by QuoteFancy
Header image by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels

What about you? Are you feeling a February slump? What activities do you engage in for motivation? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

4 thoughts on “That February Hump

  1. It’s so true that not everyone will like what you write. It’s great that you pick yourself up and continuing submitting even when the rejections come in, which they do for all writers. Good luck with your next submissions.

    Liked by 1 person

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