Writer’s mood tracker

6 February 2014 / 4 comments

7 days of mood swings …

Being a writer is like riding a rollercoaster, constantly; there are dizzying highs and gut-wrenching lows. I can go from feeling confident about my work to feeling really insecure about it in the space of five minutes. Some days I feel as though I’m trudging through mud, that all is hopeless, that I’m never going to get anywhere … other days, I feel full of hope and like some kind of breakthrough is just around the corner. Pity our partners, children, parents, friends, brothers, sisters, colleagues, hairdressers, therapists, whoever is a passenger on this ride of ours …

I thought I would track my mood for a week, like one of those smartphone apps that track your mood against what you’ve eaten, how much sleep you’ve had, how much exercise you’ve done …

At the moment I’m not writing so much but trying to promote the Searching for Von Honningsbergs book that I’ve self-published on Screwpulp.  I also have about 60 submissions out there (a novel, a novella, a novelette, a short story and two different children’s series).

5am – vaguely optimistic
Sent pitches to my favourite book bloggers (about 6 or 7). Posted a request for reviews on a Goodreads discussion board.

9am – a bit flat
Received form rejection from a literary agent for my latest children’s series, that I think is a brilliant concept (obviously!). This agent had previously asked for the full manuscript of a novel query of mine… so I’d imagined we were building some kind of rapport! Beginning to realise that every rejection is a reality check for me!

3pm – very low, cocktail of disappointment, jealousy and despair
Discovered shortlist on Facebook for a novella award that I’d entered. Although I read the list three times, my name wasn’t there. Seethed with jealousy and contempt for whoever those four winners were.* Saw them bragging on Twitter about waking up to the exciting news. Wished it was me. Some rejections sting more than others.

* In a week or two I’ll come back and check out those names again and be pleased for those writers – as I know all the hard work that goes into something like that. I’m well aware that jealousy is an unflattering emotion …

6pm–8pm – all is hopeless, I’m never going to get anywhere, ever
Received three knock backs from book bloggers already. All their emails started with ‘your novel looks interesting, but …’ At least their rejection was swift.

10pm – elated
One of the book bloggers writes another email to me saying that she has reconsidered her response and that she would like to offer me a guest post. This award-winning Australian blog gets thousands of hits a month and I’m overjoyed at the opportunity to be included on her site. Funny how the day can turn around in the end.

5am – very high
Discovered first person I don’t know has tweeted via the Screwpulp site that she had downloaded my book. Another stranger has responded to my review request on Goodreads and wants to read Searching for Von Honningsbergs. And somebody has added it to their ‘to reads’ list on Goodreads. I’m completely blown away that three people I don’t know are interested in my book. It feels like progress …

2pm – up, down, up, down, up
An hour and a half to work while toddler watching Elmo’s World and Peppa Pig. Wanted to work on guest blog post but didn’t know where to start – I’m unsure about the main messages I want to get across. Read an agent’s comment on Twitter that got my blood boiling ‘Just got query: Literary But Strong On Plot – wow that’s going to take off’.* Respect please – that’s someone’s hard work you’re talking about. Wondered why agents seem to hate authors so much? We don’t see Twitter filled with posts by writers badmouthing agents like that. (Getting an email from an agent saying our work isn’t quite right for them doesn’t exactly set our world on fire either! But do you hear us complaining?)

* Comment has since been removed from Twitter – agent must have had second thoughts …

Received email from Australian literary journal … heart fluttered, needlessly (it’s my physiological response every time, although my body should be conditioning itself otherwise by now). The editor has a nice name but the news is no good about my short story.

Saw on Twitter that Screwpulp has received $330k seed funding from investors and I’m really impressed (… and pleased to be on board with them so early.) 

6pm – discouraged
Family picnic. Lukewarm interest in my self-published novel. Sister has downloaded it and skim-read chapter headings. My parents have looked at the Screwpulp website but can’t work out how to download it. 84-year old grandmother expresses the most interest, but she has no ereader and I feel compelled to warn her that there’s rude bits. Wished I was a visual artist instead of a novel writer – wouldn’t have to ask for such an investment in time from people, nor expose inner recesses of one’s mind so much …

6am – mostly positive, yet voice of negativity breathing in my ear
Inbox full of Goodreads friend acceptances and new Wattpad followers. Also an email from another book blogger that is happy to read Searching for Von Honningsbergs and interview me about the book. From the look of her blog she’s got really good taste and doubt starts playing checkers in my mind … what if she hates it? What if my book gets canned on Goodreads? I fear that my skin is as thin as tissue paper and I won’t be able to deal with public criticism. I’ve had 22 downloads on the book so far and haven’t heard one thing about it yet … it’s eerily quiet out there …

9am – hopeful
Invested in Goodreads ad campaign. Enjoyed setting it up, writing the blurb, seeing my cover on there. Looking forward to seeing how it tracks.

3pm – low
Received email from Australian small press rejecting one of my novellas. Started wondering if my work is any good at all, perhaps it’s actually quite average. Maybe people have been humoring me all my life - since Mr Martin said I was going to be ‘artistic’ in grade 5, or that year 8 English teacher who gave me her first A+ ever, through to those Vogel judges and everyone who has ever said that they liked what I had written.

9pm – happy
Received a lovely comment on Wattpad about my half-finished YA novel about a girl who has synesthesia (tentatively titled Silver). The guy said, ‘I’m a grapheme-colour synaesthete, so this is super exciting to read! And I’m powering through this … your prose flows like a river and I will let it wash me down-stream!’ So pleased to have connected with a reader in this way – I had to do a fair bit of research on synesthesia and until now I didn’t know if I’d understood the sensation properly. But this feels like a vote of confidence. And funnily enough, in my life imitating my art again, I discovered a few months ago that my 6-year-old daughter has synesthesia when she asked me what colour my number 8 is, because 8s are blue for her.

5am – frustrated/confused
Seriously unsure about this piece I’m writing for the guest blog post. Confused by my own description of my book and writing my way into a musty exhibition space where there are too many curators and artists and I can’t work out a way to make anyone care about any of them. This book has always been lacking a quick and easy soundbite description – it’s driven more by character than plot. That aforementioned agent on Twitter would hate it.

8am – think I’ll go eat worms
Rejection from Amazon Kindle Singles for my novelette about the fully tattooed man who wants to donate his skin to the National Gallery of Australia. Pain level low for some reason … hadn’t pinned much hope on Amazon Kindle Singles it seems. Heart didn’t even flutter at the name in inbox … perhaps I am reconditioning myself after all.

10am – surge of positivity
Lovely email from another book blogger saying that although he’s snowed under at the moment with a research project, he’s downloaded my book and will see if he can get to it. Feel so grateful for these nice people out there who are taking chances on reading unproven writer’s books. Discovering that hurt and rejection in this business can be counteracted by the kindness of strangers.

5am – stable
Finally finished the guest blog post piece and sent it off. Feel like I can now move on to other things, including an inbox full of messages from other people who are contributing to my own blog!

6pm – dismayed
Husband asks if I can talk about something instead of my novel/writing/book promotion/latest rejection/author profile picture/blog post and be less self-obsessed. I tell him I’m not self-obsessed – I’m passionate about what I’m doing. I also remind him that I only get to do all this for the first time once and I’m on a steep learning curve. He asks me if I’ve signed the mortgage rollover documents and I’m reminded why fiction is more interesting than reality … Can’t I just finish reading those Tatyana Tolstoya short stories … Do I really have to read a 12-page bank document? It’s truly frightening.

5am – overwhelmed
I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, yet again! I had this idea a week ago to do a series of blog posts on how writers can use Instagram, Goodreads and Wattpad to build their readership base. I posted callouts for writers in various forums and contacted some of my favourite Instagram poets – but now everyone’s contributions are coming in and I can’t keep up with it all … My Wattpad, Goodreads and gmail inboxes are exploding and I fear that I’m missing something altogether … Work perpetuates work …

9pm – nostalgic
Feels like I haven’t received a rejection in days … I kind of miss them. Somehow even a rejection seems to validate what I’m doing …


Searching for Von Honningsbergs on Screwpulp: http://www.screwpulp.com/?browse&*=info&id=70#sthash.cMTSF566.tOq3jUYK.dpbs

Rowena Wiseman writes literary fiction and children's stories. Her novel Searching for Von Honningsbergs was longlisted for the Australian Vogel Award in 2007 and has been published as an ebook on Screwpulp: http://www.screwpulp.com/?browse&*=info&id=70



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