I've been thinking about flaws for a long time now and had hoped to tie it into my ABNA results.
The process of critique has me frustrated and not because I don't see value you in it. I see tons of value but I also see a lack of contextual thinking and an attitude toward flaws that goes like this: Only after all your flaws are removed from your story, will your work be good enough for public eyes.
Here's the truth: flaws don't matter as much as you might think. They really don't. There is an unquantifiable aspect to what makes things popular. It's human nature to try to control the uncontrollable. A few seasons back America's Next Top Model tried to teach the contestants how to control their celebrity by branding themselves. Logic I found absurd.
Writing, like so many things in life, is a journey. Flawed people find love and jobs. Flawed songs hit the top of the charts. Flawed food is severed and eaten every single second of the day to happy customers. And flawed manuscripts find flawed publishers to produce them.
While personal growth often plays a role in success, it's not a requirement. What I'm saying is, and this applies to any pursuit, don't be afraid to put yourself out there now, flawed as you may be. Some people will like what you do. Some people won't. But be very cautious of people who say wait, wait, wait... not yet, no, wait.
Unless you actively resist change, each new attempt will be better. (Not everyone will agree on that, but you know in your heart when you've done something that stretched your boundaries.) The idea that a song that wasn't good or a book that wasn't good will end your career is archaic. We are in an era of experiment, thanks in large part to the internet. I find that as long as you put your authentic self out there, people are generous and forgiving of flaws.
You are free to make a gazillion mistakes doing whatever it is that makes you happy. And to learn from those mistakes. Or not. And either way, you have it in you to create a masterpiece. Or not. But until you put yourself out there, you'll never know.
As regular blog readers will know, I replaced a buy ridden LG Ultrabook with the Samsung Serious 9. As you can see from the photo it's sleek and thin. You can read the technical specs from any number of sites but what I want to talk about is what it's like to write on.
For years, I've felt that manufacturers neglect writers when they design laptops. So first, the Samsung gets really high marks for being comfortable to type on... for hours. The the keyboard is spacious and very responsive. It's also back lit for those who like that kind of thing. But the best feature about the keyboard is that it sits slightly lower than the palm rest. You'll find that your hands rest in a way that prevents most unintentional bumping of the track pad.
Samsung took it a step futher. The track pad itself is slightly recessed, too. Combined it's nearly impossible to bump the pad by accident. But if you do bump it, the track pad isn't slippery. I've hated all the track pads on every laptop I've owned over the years. I hated how they'd highlight text while I was typing but I especially loathed the LG because it would highlight, delete the entire passage, open several programs and on a few occasions close out the word processor. But even though I'd take a sticky track pad over a slippery one, the Samsung has balance. Gone or the frantic searches in my bag for the portable mouse. With my fingers on the keys, I flick my thumb and scroll around my manuscripts with now fear of anthing being deleted.
The final feature that every writer will love is the anti-glare screen. It's not just a fancy word for matte finish. Writing is pretty seditary, but it's not an issue with this laptop. I tuck my Samsung 9 in my backpack along with a few snacks, and hit the trail instead of the local coffee shop. The screen looks great inside our out, just adjust the brightness levels to suit. This is the first notebook that has trully let me be a writer on the go.
The Samsung 9 is also supper light at 1.16 kilos and I was told it has about 6 hours battery life. But just using it to type, I find I get between 7 and 8 hours. And whether you're writing or downloading music and movies, or all of the above with 4 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of SSD there's pleanty of power under the hood.
This computer won't come cheap. Stateside I think it sells for 1499.99 but you can make up some fo the price by going to the park instead of the coffee shop. Plus there's no compisees with this machine, making it well worth every penny.
Do you know who Blue October is? Of course you do. Hate Me and Into the Ocean are two songs that ought to jog your memory.
But you probably don't know them in the way you might know Brittany Spears. And it's a shame. I think they're probably writing some of the best lyrics of this generation. I'm biased, what can I say =)
But beyond inspiring me to write better, there's a really awesome story behind their success. Yep. I said success. Their songs are chart toppers. They had two hits and then nadda. The record label wanted them to be more commercial but how does one make a hit happen? Add a pop beat and sing about sex or money, or a boat =) So much so that their record label cut them loose. (Talk about rejection. Yikes!)The consensus was Blue October was a sinking ship to be forgotten.
Yet, their CDs continued to sell well and their concerts sold out. At first, the experts said it was a fluke. Blue October kept doing what it does and kept selling out concerts. Eventually, the record label came back, hat in hands, and offered Blue October another contract. While pride might have interfered, the truth is, even when your successful on your own, it's a lot easier with help. Not unlike self-published writers who break out of the pack, Blue October signed with a big name record label.
Blue October is not a household name, but this hasn't affected their success at all. They make a living doing what they love and sharing their life experiences. This what I call, a lesson in awesomeness. Speaking of awesome, this is one inspiring music video. There's another great story behind it too. If your a writer, or painter, or a traveling spoon man, what I want you to take away from this is that success isn't uninform. It var
Thanks for submitting "The Slave" for our consideration, and for your interest in LORE. While I enjoyed aspects of this tale, we are going to pass on this particular effort -- narrowly. This was good, to be sure. I hope we shall see something more from you in the future. Good luck in your ongoing endeavors.
First, I want to point out I've never posted a rejection online before. I can't say it won't every happen again, but I don't do it for a thousand reason, the biggest one being that this was a private conversation. I have the utmost respect for Rod Heather over at Lore and not just because he sent me this very nice rejection. Lore Magazine is chock full of fantastic fiction that I'd be proud to be part of. There's a reason why I put this here and posted my reviews from Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award. (Vine 1, Vine 2, Reader's Weekly.) Nor is it easy for me to put up my reviews for you to see my warts -- you'll notice I allowed my pride (footnotes in Meathead) to shoot myself in the foot. I'd been told before to delete them. But I ignored that advice and annoyed the reviewer. I'm also embarrsed by the comments about editing as well.
Moving on. I've been wanting to write about the nature of selling fiction for a while. I had hopped to have made another sale by now for one thing. I was feeling pretty high on the hog after my sale to One Buck Horror. A pro sale meant... means a lot less than you'd expect. When you haven't sold anything, when you're querying and getting nothing but rejections, your first personalized rejection is a milestone and a Pro sale the holy grail. This could be my 5oth personal rejection. I stopped counting. That doesn't mean it isn't meaningful. I really appreciate it when an editor takes the time to give me a few kind words. When I feel low, I pull them up and read through them. I let them wash over me and remind myself that it takes years and years for an overnight success-- not every writer is an overnight success. But I think you know what I mean.
So I have two pieces of advice:
Enjoy your milestones. I mean really, really enjoy them. Exalt yourself, your skill, your creativity, the genius that makes up all of you. Daydream about the big sale. Let your ego off it's leash. (Don't worry, there's a rejection around the corner that will put it back in check.) But most of all, celebrate your perseverance. Without it there would be no milestones, which all too soon they become part of the landscape.
Don't fret. Just write. I haven't sold anything in a long time and I'd be lying to say that isn't eating at me, but fretting over it isn't productive. I have to keep circulation the stories I've finished and keep writing new things. And maybe you haven't sold anything. Maybe you don't get personalized rejections yet. Don't fret. Keep writing new things and you will.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).