What to do when you’re not publishing #2

A while ago I wrote a post about what to do when you’re not publishing. I read it again recently because, low and behold, I’m still not publishing! I think it needs an update though, because I have discovered many new things to do that are more energising. The worst thing about constant rejections is their tendency to sap energy for everything – writing, work, life in general – and so finding things that can feed you (metaphorically, though delicious food is a good distraction as well) is life-saving.

11. Watch TED talks. They may be a bit cliched, but motivation is only lame when you don’t need it. It can be surprisingly effective when you’re feeling low.

12. Discover new artists. Artists of any kind, though my favourite is musicians. Find amazing art created by people who just got on and did it, and built an incredible back catalogue of work while apparently being ignored. My current anthem is Don’t Come Easy by Patty Griffin.

13. Try to find community. This is hard, though my recent discover of Writers’ HQ is helping me. They have free short online courses, cheap(ish) longer ones, they’re active on social media, and they run retreats in England if that’s your area. They also have a wonderful way of making it all seem fun, probably because of all the swearing.

14. Find some writing you love and type it up. It’s amazing how much more achievable it seems when it’s typed in Word rather than printed in a printed book.

15. Submit. Whatever you have really. The rejections (let’s be realistic here) won’t come in for months by which time hopefully you’ll be feeling better, and the little spark that comes with pressing ‘submit’ will do wonders right now.

16. If you haven’t already, download Scrivener and spend hours figuring it out and imagining how much easier it will be to do really good drafts in the future.

17. Take a weekend off. You’ll be dying to get back to it on Monday.

18. Imagine you’ve been given a death sentence (I mean weeping-in-a-courtroom, choosing-a-last-meal kind of imagining). What would you work on? Do that now.

Time for me to crank Patty, load up Scrivener, and find some old work to submit to something.


By Alison Theresa

Writer in progress. Australian in Birmingham. MA student at University of Birmingham. I write words and sometimes people publish them. I am working on my fourth (and fifth) novels.

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