Monday, February 20, 2012

Toilet Swirlies

We've all had those moments where flushing our writing down the toilet sounds like the smartest thing to do. How many times can we read the same scene, the same chapter ending, the same line of dialogue before we feel like giving our words the swirlie they deserve? 

There are many days when I think my writing is crap. I feel like no matter how much editing, tweaking, and re-writing I do, I need to accept that it stinks and send it floating to the septic tank.

On second thought, maybe I need a toilet this big...

This is usually the point where I start whining to my critique partners. And because they are the most wonderful people in the world, they reassure me that my writing is not sewage and promise to help wipe away the waste.

Hopefully you have a few critique partners like mine--fellow writers that make your writing sparkle. If not, GET THEM NOW! Network, hook-up with wordsmiths like yourself, get some feedback from people who are riding the same swirl. We need each other!

And while they're spinning their magic around your prose, it's time to get your toilet brush out and start scrubbing too.

You can do it!

Read a story written by an author whose writing style inspires you or peruse your favorite book on the craft of writing. Search the net for editing check lists and agent how-to's. Check out other blogs and read about their stories of rejection, getting "The Call", and upcoming publishing dates.


So if your fifty-eighth query rejection just hit your inbox and when you opened it, this is what you saw

That's self doubt talking. There is no image in your email. The agent does not want to flush you and your writing down the crapper.

Keep these wise words in mind:

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist." Isaac Asimov

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail". Ralph Waldo Emerson

And remember to have a really strong scrub brush :)

Have you ever wanted to give your writing a toilet swirlie?


  1. Every single day I want to flush my work. But I carry on in the hope that maybe it isn't quite as bad as I think. On the other hand, maybe it is lol!

    I had some help from Angie the other day, but it's hard to find a CP when I am not that experienced and probably won't be much help to another person. :(

  2. Like you name, this is such an inspiring post, Hope. Thank you! You don't know how much it meant to me to hear someone say that I can do it. It means a lot to me! :)

  3. I tend to keep a lot of stuff around, so instead of flushing it down the toilet or deleting it, I stuff it in a folder of spares. Never know when you want to re-visit the old work.

  4. Oh man..yes. These days happen. Especially after 'Anonymous' attacks my work on a contest entry...haha.

    But that's why we have support groups! To tell us we are good. YOU are awesome!

    Unfortunately, no matter which rung we're on on the ladder we're going to think our writing is crappy some day, being published won't change that even. So that's why we must keep our cheerleaders close. (The honest ones which do tell us when our writing could use a little umph because we know how good it can be ;))

    Great post Hope!

  5. I wish I could remember where I read a story about one author who had her manuscript rejected by an editor (she had an agent), who then ACCEPTED it years later when it was resubmitted. Why? Because when it was submitted the second time, the editor knew the market was ready for it.

    You just never know what might happen!

  6. This! I've totally been here and it's so hard. I have those days where I feel like screaming, crying and yes, flushing. But I have those other days when I look back and think, "WOW! I wrote that?" Or "Wow! That many words were put to page today?" Or I get notes from a critique partner that make me giddy. Those are the days I TRY and focus on... though it's not always easy. Thanks for this post!

  7. Gaaaaah... SERIOUSLY. Hope, you nailed it. WE ALL FEEL LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME! Thanks for this. You rock. :D

  8. I love your pictures! It is totally true that at some time our self-doubt kicks us when we're already down, and it's important to have those outside cheerleaders to help us remember that we can keep on. I love the quote from Asimov, too - I'd never heard it before, but I think I need to frame it by my computer!

  9. Such a great post. I'm getting my brush out. LOL. And thanks for your e-mail this morning. I will stay away from the toilet this week. And, yay, for honest cheerleaders. ;0)

  10. LOL! This is the coolest way EVER to put this! Toilet swirlies, for sure! I know I plot sending my work to the sewer on many occasions. It's not fun to feel that way, but I have great CP's who help me through too! This is an awesome post Hope. You're amazing!

  11. I've been scrubbing my latest story for about eight months now and I'm finally seeing it sparkle. Finding great crit partners is rough and definitely a process. I now have two that I am so thankful for. :) Love the toilet scrubbing pics! They fit!

  12. Yes. Every day!!!!! Great post. It is so important to remember that persistence and patience are 90% of the battle. Really.

  13. I certainly do right now, as I go through revisions. It seems to be an endless round of 'what was I thinking'? Hopefully, I can make it pretty :-)