I had a bad few months, for writing. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at some conversations I was having, and matched them up with my record of when I was writing and when I stopped writing nearly so much.
I got into a discussion where– ugh, short summary, someone insisted very loudly that the only thing about your writing (as opposed to circumstances like connections or time) that mattered for acceptance and publication was how skilled you were. If you were a skilled writer, all you needed was the right checklist of manageable circumstances, and you’d get published.
(I honestly don’t buy this; at the very least, the most beautifully written work isn’t going to get accepted by a publisher who does not publish That Kind Of Thing.)
I was trying to articulate that–the difference between skill and appeal–when they announced the discussion was over. And I spent some time… dwelling on it.
It was not great. I wrote a little bit over the next few months–the Clarion West Write-a-thon was hugely helpful for that–but my word count honestly tanked relative to what it had been before. I know part of it was the trip to WorldCon. I know part of it was a work crunch. But I looked back and realized that I’d written for nineteen days straight before that discussion, including through a family member’s wedding, and I wrote for one day out of the entire week after it.
(They seemed so certain that my rejections were all due to my lack of skill. I had all the other circumstances they listed, after all, so it had to be that my writing was bad. Right?)
I don’t deal with that person anymore–our entire interaction was based around discussions of writing, and I figured out that discussing writing with them was a bad idea for me–but it took a while to get moving again. I think I’ve managed, finally. My word count is picking up again, the streaks are getting longer, I’ve been completing work instead of drafting disjointed scenes and never going back.
But good grief, I wish I’d been spared that unilateral diagnosis in the first place.