Friday, July 12, 2013

Submitter's Block- the tummy churning edition

You love writing. You've been writing since you were a kid, or you picked up writing in College. Maybe you found writing in the middle of a divorce or on a quiet Sunday evening, sitting under a Mimosa tree. You took classes, engaged in workshops, are active in online communities and love everything about it, or some variation of this...but you are terrified of submitting your work. We're talking pit-in-your-throat, rock-in-your-stomach, binge eating Blizzards, procrastinating Sheriff of Anxiety. I know, I have a Sheriff's star badge. Okay, well, I don't, but I wish I did.

I have an awful case of the Submitter's Block.  I'm sharing my feelings today because when I did a web search for other people who have trouble with this, I found very little to relate to or to soothe my nerves. If my descent into batshit cat lady helps somebody else avoid 30 minute discussions about absorbent kitty litter and what brand to use to best avoid UTI's in kitties, I want to do my part.

I'm not going to let it stall me, this time. I will submit. Ugggggggggg.

My Internal Monologue (occasionally dialogue):

  • I'm not actually a poet, but a big fake.
  • I will get rejected again.
  • I will never get accepted.
  • I am a big fake. No, really.
  • I'm not talented.
  • I'm no good.
  • It all sucks.
  • I suck.
  • Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake.
  • Why bother? The likelihood that you'll win this contest/get accepted is so incredibly slim, why do you even try?
It is getting ugly in here, folks. I don't mean to be a drama queen, but I haven't had this much anxiety since college. I almost didn't recognize it... So today I'm venting. I tried ignoring, but that was pushing me to tears at my desk. So what next? 

I accept these emotions. I accept the rock sitting in my tummy. Deep breath. Feel the air in my lungs. Give me space for self compassion.

Plan of Action:
  1. JUST DO IT: Drop of envelope for contest in the mail after work.
  2. REWARD SELF: Go with wife to local ice creamery and consume alcoholic ice cream. That exists, I kid you not, and it is heaven.
  3. DON'T GIVE UP: Work on my Record of Night.
  4. RELAX: Put on Pj's.
  5. CONTINUE TO RELAX: Cuddle with wife and friend on couch. Hopefully these cuddles will include viewing a movie that makes me giggle.
Take a deep breath. Breathing is important. Here is another list. This is an important one...

Things that are important to remember:
  • Rejection is not a sign that my writing is bad. Poetry editors handle an overwhelming number of submissions/year. Just because they kick yours to the curb doesn't reflect on my value or the value of my work.
  • Rejection is a natural part of being a published poet.
  • Everybody gets rejected. Your idols, your icons, your profs, your contemporaries. Everybody.
  • I've been published before, I can get published again.
Update: submissions dropped in the mail, delicious food reward consumed, ready to get home and work on record. On track an I feel much better. I can totally do this.