A Much Needed Break


IMG_3261 Things haven’t been going well for me recently, both in myself and in my writing. Some may not believe it, but writing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, concentration and effort to create something remotely readable. As some of you may know, my current WIP, Here Lies Love is scheduled for release in April, and to be honest, I haven’t met my schedule and goals for it.

I’m not happy about that, in fact it even got me quite annoyed, where I threw myself about in a sulk, wasn’t happy and ultimately, made everything else suffer. I needed a break. I was stressed, my body had finally taken its toll and I felt like a failure at everything. No matter how much I tried to write, it just wasn’t coming naturally and I ended up deleting everything I had written during those days.

What didn’t help, was an email i received about a submission I sent off. Although honest (which is always a must) it was also brutal and a little harsh if I say so myself. They hated my writing style and structure and slated a lot of what I had written. Although, they still managed to write a sarcastic-esque response at the end which read: ‘I wish you luck with seeking representation elsewhere’.

This response, as well as my recent writing sessions led me to seriously doubt my future as a writer. Was rejection all that I was destined for? Bad reviews? Hatefully honest emails? Enough was enough. I needed to get away from everything – from writing, from books, from work. Sometimes you just need a little time for yourself; time for reflection and private thoughts. No deadlines, no goals, no anything.

So I filled up my little car and headed over 150 miles away to Cumbria – a nice little area of England called the ‘Lake District’. A place I had heard much about, but not actually visited at all. I never went on holiday when I was younger, my Mum couldn’t afford it, and she didn’t drive at the time anyway. In the Lake District, there is no internet signal and free wifi, no distractions, just wide open spaces and hills. AND SNOW-TOPPED MOUNTAINS (OK, mini-mountains, but still mountains).

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It was such a beautiful place to visit. Lots of little historical villages situated in the hillsides, plenty of walking opportunities and although the weather was perhaps too cold, it was what I needed. A good kick up the arse to not beat myself up by rejection, by criticisms. You know what, failure is OK. Not meeting your own deadlines may be annoying, but it’s OK to fall short sometimes. What really matters is how you pick yourself up and deal with what needs to be done.

I am a member of a writing group, fronted by a woman who was kind enough to offer her support and suggestions. Along with an author friend (you know who you are) I was able to see that this hateful email was really just an opinion. We can all learn from criticisms – we just need to realise how helpful the criticisms are. Not everybody agrees on everything – imagine a world where everyone agreed all the time, it would boring! But what this email has done, as well as the support from my writer friends, has actually made me sit up and take notice of my writing.

I mean, maybe that was why, or one reason at least, I was having issues with it. I thought I was happily writing away, my writing voice unique to me, but I bet even JK Rowling and Stephen King had issues sometimes. Issues where they need to sit down and reassess what needs to be done. Although I may disagree with some of this person’s comments, it has helped me wake up and realise that maybe, there are some things I need to change, or at least cut down on. My voice is still there, but modified somewhat.

Thankfully, I’m writing again, which means work is continuing on Here Lies Love. My deadlines may have come and gone, but the important thing is, I’m writing. It may not meet its April release date, but there’s a lesson to learned from all of this. Set achievable goals. The good news is also that I’m writing the final third of the book, which will lead into the editing stage. The book will be available in eBook, Paperback and Hardback. The perfect choice for any type of reader. When a specific release date is set, the ebook at least will be available for pre-order from some retailers. There will also be a free extras in the physical editions too. I’m also looking into ways to be available to sell signed copies too, but those details are a little fuzzy yet.

I’m going to leave you now with a few pictures of my time away in the Lake District. If you love walking or hiking or even kayaking, this is a place you’d absolutely love.

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11 thoughts on “A Much Needed Break

  1. Sorry to hear things haven’t been going too well for you – although very glad they’re starting to get back on track now! I know the feeling of needing a break sometimes, and also of getting bad feedback at exactly the worst moment when you’re already doubting yourself! Glad you were able to get away for a while, it looks like a gorgeous place, and take the positives from a negative email!

    1. Thanks, Jaimie. It was good to get away and not worry about stuff. I’m sure all us writers have received awful feedback, but it’s the encouragement from our community that helps spur us on!

  2. I’m sorry you fell so low from the email. But I’m glad you’re writing again. It’s a truly hard task master this writing lark. We do it alone. Take care of you and keep the words will come.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca. I was so angry at myself for not getting where i wanted to be, but the encouragement and support has been overwhelmingly positive. I am writing bit by bit, so hopefully I’ll be where i need to be in no time 🙂

  3. Self-doubt, we all go through it. What a nice blog post. It’s filled with positivity AND well written (see, you ARE a writer). J.K. Rowling had many, many rejections in the beginning and look at her now.

    I found this wonderful article you should check out. Read some of the horrendous feedback the NOW bestsellers had in the beginning. http://www.literaryrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/

    I think you may find it inspiring, I know I did. DO NOT GIVE UP Dan, I’m supporting you 100% and cannot wait to publish the blog post for your upcoming release 🙂

    Toni x

    1. I can’t thank you enough, Toni for you supported. I really appreciate it and instead of getting myself worked up by negative feedback, i should take comfort from all the positive.

      I’ll take a gander at that site when I’ve finished work.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about this, Dan. I remember receiving a critique from an editor that said my characters were like cardboard cutouts being maneuvered across the chessboard of my story that they couldn’t understand my silly metaphors (and I paid to be told that!) It felt like a big punch in the stomach, but I sent the story elsewhere and it ended up being highly commended in the IP Awards (Let Sleeping Gods Lie).

    Keep at it, be strong and have faith in yourself. I have a faith in you 😀

    1. Thanks, Dianne. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Although, I’ve read your work and they are anything but cardboard cutouts!

      I have another of your books waiting patiently on my bookcase. I have high hopes 🙂

  5. Every writer has similar negative times, including the bestsellers. We all have the rejections, and the negative reviews which hurt. One reader emailed me to pick holes in my book, and she ended up making a load of spiteful insults about me, so not only was I upset by her negative response to my writing I was angry she turned it into a personal attack. She doesn’t even know me! For every doubter there’ll be lots of support, and you’re right to learn from the criticisms. As for the Lake District, I can’t think of a more wonderful place to go to put things into perspective. I’s my favourite place in the world, and I really enjoyed your photos.

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