Lately I’ve been back and forth with Facebook a lot. On the one hand it’s my major way of keeping up with things; socialising with friends, finding out what’s going on and checking out news stories. On the other hand it doesn’t take long for me to become either angry or depressed or both, and that’s not good. As soon as I notice that reaction I close the tab, only to go back on there an hour or two later for the human interaction I barely otherwise get, due to writing being such a solitary occupation. It’s very difficult when the reaction to your work from the wider word is silence (though I did have a rather nice rejection today, of which more anon) so I crave comments from other writers and thoughts like my daughter’s this morning (‘I’m still reading your novella and it’s really good.’) I can’t get enough of that stuff.
So today I thought I’d try an experiment. I’ll set a timer on my phone and see how long it takes me to get unacceptably depressed or angry. But as many people have spotted, observing a phenomenon changes that phenomenon: the very act of timing it meant that I was more detached from what I was reading and able to observe both it and myself from a distance, as it were. The result was that I lasted five minutes. If that doesn’t sound very long, my usual time limit is (I would guess) less than two. Unless I’m chatting on messenger it’s not long before several horrible news stories hit me and I can’t take any more.
Maybe I should set a stopwatch every time?
The rejection email I had this morning was not too bad: it said they’d passed my story ‘Heart 2 Heart’ onto the editors (ie effectively shortlisting it) but that it didn’t fit with the rest of the issue. Since they have different editors each time I am by no means downhearted – appropriately enough, given the title (if you’re interested the story is about a woman who has a heart transplant which ends up changing her personality in drastic ways.)
I may be a little downheaded though…
Two more stories going off to The Fiction Desk today.
PS Good luck to everyone doing NaNo