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Friday, January 15, 2010

Keeping Going and Going On

This is an addendum, or a going on of the last post, focusing on the process of keeping going, in this sense finishing and sending out. This can be difficult for any creative person, whether beginner or pro. The belief is that it gets easier after a few successful sales. In my experience, it becomes more difficult.

A story in point:
Once I attended a two-hour fused glass jewelry workshop. The only requirement to attend was having attended the basic workshop in how to make fused glass (which is easy with some safety precautions, and the teacher provided the kiln). The class was full with mostly us beginners, mostly for fun. One attendee was a professional jewelry designer who had her own shop with her designs. While the rest of us happily prepped piece after piece of jewelry to be fired (no limit on number of pieces), this poor woman attempted to "design" one single piece.

Now glass doesn't act the same as metal--while being fused, glass melts. Metal in lost wax casting can be very exact, glass can't. With all her knowledge and experience with jewelry design, the poor woman didn't grasp that main fact. She also mentioned several times her ability to design, so she was worried about her reputation.

While the rest of the class played, relaxed and having fun, she struggled to design one piece. Despite the encouragement of the teacher and the rest of us insisting she relax, we weren't judging her, she couldn't. She ended up with that one piece, which she almost didn't let be fired and finished. She hated the end result. Meanwhile, I made 11 pieces, 6 of which were beautiful and all of which were suitable for gifts. One gal made 34 pieces! Again, all lovely.

Hence, my post about "going on." A pro can never let anything, including professionalism, stop the work. Yes, it's difficult when you have published some, to face rejection, to send out more while questioning your own judgment and the critiques or compliments of others.

At some point, if a pro, finish and go on. Take a chance, and then another. Finish another and send it out. Submit. Go on to the next.

Does this resonate with you, dear readers? Do you find it difficult sometimes to go on to the next? Or to finish? What do you do then?

22 comments:

Carol Kilgore said...

I can understand someone's fear that the new endeavor won't stand up with what's come before, especially when trying something new. Like your jewelry designer. I also understand giving yourself permission to try something new. Without trying new things we can't grow. And growth is a must. It's always hard to screw up, but we all do every once in a while. We have to laugh and move on. It's how we move on that counts.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Perfect timing on this post, since what I'm really supposed to be doing is sending out queries on my latest novel.
Fear is holding me back, that worry that it might not be accepted, it might not be loved or the subject of a bidding war (tee hee), and fear of starting something new.
So my office is getting tidy and I'm finally doing some work on Facebook and other social media.
But you're right, we gotta finish if we're pros or wannabe pros.
So back to the query. Thank you.

June Calender said...

If one is writing short stories, poems, novels, and much nonfiction and submitting rejection is part of the process. If one has a long standing relationship, as with a specific magazine or paper, then a reputation is involved and rejection feels very different. Having once been on the rejecting end as a dramaturg at a theatre, I know that much that is well done is rejected for a variety of reasons that have more to do with the critiera the rejector must fill rather than with with work submitted. Knowing this takes the bite off the edge of rejection.

However a recent rejection in a poetry competition was rather bitter, even though the judging was blind. The chosen poems seemed to me less worthy than my own. It's all subjective finally; the work IS a part of us and rejection always feels personal, even when it's not.

Beth said...

I don't have a problem moving on. I do my best on a book, admit at some point that it's the best I can do, and start the next one - while trying to sell the just-completed one. Sometimes I look back and think, "Gee, maybe I could have done more work on that book," but I have to have confidence that I did my best, and put my energy into the new one, instead of beating a dead horse, so to speak.

I love fused glass! Now you've given me the courage to find a class, if it's that easy.... :-)

Dave King said...

I guess we've all encountered people like that poor woman - and been there ourselves. Timely advice. Thanks.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Yes, it's so hard to try something different, especially if it's still in your "area of expertise." But you are so right, Carol, we have to try in order to grow and learn.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Kathy, yes, and transitions, when something is done and something new must be started is always difficult. Hmmm, I sense another post forming...thank you!

Conda V. Douglas said...

June, Isaac Asimov once wrote a wonderful article about being rejected by his OWN magazine when he had published over 200 various things. Your post reminded me a lot of that article.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Beth--wise woman, you, because we all learn by doing, in this case writing. I know too many writers who rewrite a book forever.

And yes, fused glass is easy to do, at least the simple beginners stuff and FUN! Go for it!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Dave, that's part of the reason I told the story about her, I've certainly been there, frozen from finishing myself, too often!

Helen Ginger said...

Excellent advice. I make it a rule that when I send out a query, I then start the next project. That's better than fretting constantly over when and whether I'll hear back.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Conda V. Douglas said...

Great rule, Helen, I approve. And working on another project helps if the answer is "not for us at this time."

Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

Lisa and Laura said...

Very interesting! I know that even if we do experience some success, we will always rely on the feedback of others. We don't know what we would do without our beta readers! We don't look at it as them judging us but rather helping us get better!

Conda V. Douglas said...

You're welcome, Anony.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Yes, Lisa and Laura, I too, love my "blind" readers and fellow writer critiquers. We need fresh eyes and ears for our words, always!

Enid Wilson said...

Facing critique is very difficult. But thanks for the encouraging words.

Really Angelic

Conda V. Douglas said...

You're welcome, Enid--I'm glad you're encouraged, me too!

Stephen Tremp said...

I thrive on honest constructive feedback. But deep down inside I'm just a big softie. As long as people are being honest I can handle that. Its important to nit escalate a hostile critique. You'll never win. That;s why I had to begin moderating my blog.

Stephen Tremp

Conda V. Douglas said...

Stephen, good points--and I can't imagine anyone not moderating their blog--do you get the "spam" comments too?

Glynis said...

I plod and flit. I get there in the end, I could never be obsessive about my work. I can be enthusiastic and would be the one with 34 pieces.
I want my book out there in the world, if it never makes it to an agent and publisher, I will DIY one copy. For me that will show me, I can make my dreams happen.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Plodding and flitting, good descriptions of how I work too, Glynis--maybe that's how most creative people work?