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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D: Dejection


Blogging from A to Z: D
Insecure Writer's Support Group 7

I could write a post much longer than you would want to read about dejection but, as it's the first Wednesday in the month, let's stick to it as it pertains to writing.

One of the simplest definitions of dejection is 'lowness of spirit'. I'm not talking about depression, that's something very different. Dejection is that feeling where everything seems grey. The words that seemed absolutely fantastic yesterday now appear less interesting than a telephone directory. Or, and this is the one that's plaguing me right now, the idea you had that you thought was so brilliant and innovative just seems ridiculous and implausible.

I've learned that when I feel like this I'm not a good judge of whether something is working or not. If you feel dejected, often everything seems wrong and it's hard to tell the good from the bad. The one thing that works for me is editing. If I focus on looking for grammar and punctuation mistakes, I can tell myself that the quality of the words aren't important right now, they're not my focus. When the mood passes, as it always does, I can more accurately judge what I've written.

How do you deal with dejection?

162 comments:

  1. I deal by stepping right away from it, and coming back when the dejection has passed. Unless it lasts for a really long time, then I just have to power through!

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    1. Giving yourself some distance is almost always a good idea, whatever the situation!

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  2. I'm with Kyra, I need to step away. Focus on something else. Usually reading a good book will get my spirits back up and fill me with motivation :)

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    1. Good point. Reading a good book can help most situations :-)

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  3. I'm dealing with this right now. I usually can bounce back by stepping away and reading, but that's not working this time so I will have try something else. Thanks.

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    1. Aww Christine, sorry things are tough for you tough right now. Hope you find a way through soon.

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  4. When all we see is negative, that really isn't a good time to assess anything. I tend to go do something else for a while, something I know I'm good at or is working. Even if that just means playing a computer game for a few nights.

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    1. I used to do that - it's amazing how much better I used to feel after defeating a few mobs :-)

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  5. I read your posts, cos they are are *always* brill and full of down to earth knowledge :)

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  6. Hi Sarah - thanks again for stopping by the hearth and joining in the comments regarding Ceri.

    Dejection is, when you break it down to its simplest terms, self-criticism in its most negative form - it impacts on your confidence to carry on, quite often leading to bizarre decision making: like deleting that whole paragraph you have sweated over within the blink of an eye.

    Dealing with it? Walk away. Take your mind away from it. Sleep on it if required. Just do not act rashly. Personally, I'd say a tub of Ben & Gerries ice cream is justified ;)

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    1. Hmmm? Or is that Ben & Jerries? Hell, ice cream is ice cream to me, can't you tell?

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    2. All good suggestions. Personally I don't care if it's called Tom and Jerry's so long as it's ice cream :-)

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  7. Dejection is not a good feeling. I found what you wrote very interesting. How I deal with it is think it through shrug my shoulders and think of something good, and don't let it get to you.

    Yvonne.

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    1. I admire you Yvonne, it seems to me that you have a very strong spirit :-)

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  8. Eat chocolate? Go for a country ride? Break something? Cry... Then take a deep breath and realize there are far worse things going on than my petty little emotion of feeling sorry for myself.

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    1. You make a good point. It's fine, probably even good for us, to allow ourselves a bit of a wallow, but there has to come a time when we say enough is enough.

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  9. Sarah - Dejection is definitely one of the "dirty not-so-little secrets" that writers have to face. And writers aren't the only ones of course either. What do I do when I'm dejected? It's not easy. Music helps a lot. If it's about writing, I talk to someone whose opinion I trust and ask that person to give me a more objective opinion. That often helps too because then I can focus on the things that I can change about my writing rather than assume it's none of it any good.

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    1. Talking to someone you trust is a good one I think. You know that they won't say just what you want to hear. (Unless, of course, that's exactly what you need right then!)

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  10. Oh I'm no stranger to dejection. Sometimes news and general life just lead up to it, don't they? I'm pretty lucky I can bounce back (usually) but what helps most is being with friends.

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    1. I can't deny that - friends are one of the most important weapons against dejection :-)

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  11. I'm really lucky. I have an awesome husband and two corgis who usually drag me out of my dejection.

    But that doesn't mean I don't experience it. I think it comes around far too often. Chocolate helps. A lot. As does my sheer determination to not let it stop me. But mostly Chocolate.

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    1. Chocolate. Absolutely. Although I've seen pics of your corgis, and I could see how they would help too :-)

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  12. Dejection is really tough, and I'm not sure there's any technique that will always work. Sometimes just pushing forward works, sometimes it leads to more dejection. Sometimes taking a detour into another project, or reading something new, or fixing some other aspect of life.

    Having specific, set goals can also help. Like a certain number of words, no matter what, even if they'll eventually be thrown out. Sometimes this leads to solutions popping up.

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    1. I used to make myself write x number of words a day. I don't know when that stopped. Perhaps I should go back to it.

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  13. Ooh good post!
    I usually just waait out the dejection. It always goes away, and the sooner i remember that, the quicker i can help it out the door.

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    1. I have this awesome image of you 'helping' your dejection out of the door - with a pointy boot to its backside :-)

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  14. "The words that seemed absolutely fantastic yesterday now appear less interesting than a telephone directory" So, so true! Why does this happen?
    I guess I take a step back, do or soak up other creative things. Anything that reminds me of what I'm trying to achieve. :)

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    1. I wish I knew why it happened, then I could tell everyone how to avoid it :-)

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  15. I'm another one who steps away. Dejection isn't productive, so I have to wait it out and work on something else.

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    1. 'Dejection isn't productive.' So true!

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  16. Excellent Sarah. We all feel that way at times.

    For me exercise or a long walk through nature puts it make in place for me.

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    1. Exercise and walking definitely seems to be a favourite 'fix' among everyone :-)

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  17. Yes. I get this. It's SO hard to work when you feel this way. It's hard to know whether your work is fabulous or crap. I wish detection wasn't a part of the process... if you figure out how to eliminate it, you'll tell me? ;)

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    1. I promise, if I ever work it out, you'll be the first to know! ;-)

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  18. I just went through this. Ultimately, I lost the lovin' feelin' for the WIP and decided to shelve it for the time being. I have high hopes that I'll come back to it when it and I are ready to move forward. But the upside is, I started working on a project that was still fuzzy (didn't really have a big plot yet, just characters), and it's moving along so well! Sometimes walking away, for a day, a week, even a few months, is the best medicine.

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    1. Moving on to something new can really help. I've done that myself in the past - and it's amazing how much better the old work is once you go back to it :-)

      Good luck with the new project btw, sounds like you're off to a great start.

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  19. When I feel dejected, I usually respond in a bad way: I ignore it. I just keep pushing through not taking the time to understand why I feel that way about something. It prolongs the feeling, but more work gets done. Still, it's not very good work, nor is it a very good feeling. I call it slogging. I slog through when I'm dejected.

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    1. I guess at least you get work done, but I'm sad for you that it prolongs the feeling :-(

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  20. I can definitely relate to this. I usually wallow in self pity and each something that will go straight to my hips. :-)

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  21. Step back to gain perspective, and eat copious amounts of chocolate.

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    1. Yep, another awesome member of the 'chocolate cures everything' club :-)

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  22. I watch t.v., read a book, and then go and do some exercise to get the blood pumpin'.

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    1. I'm definitely going to try this exercise thing that people keep mentioning.

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  23. When I'm feeling this way, I step away from the computer and engage in an activity the revitalizes me, like cleaning my house. I know, that sounds weird, but it helps me clear my head, get some exercise, and do something loving for myself. I always feel better in a clean house. If that doesn't work, I drink copious amounts of wine. =p

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    1. It doesn't sound weird at all - in fact it sounds useful - and wine always helps :-)

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  24. Yeah for me too - I do something else. Give myself the opportunity to wallow.

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    1. Nothing wrong with wallowing for a little while :-)

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  25. I think we all suffer from this from time to time. I try to remind myself that it will pass...sometimes this works better than others.

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    1. Heh, yeah I know that one. What worked yesterday doesn't always work today :-)

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  26. I stick my fingers in my ears, blow raspberries, burst into tears, and then go eat a pint of ice cream.

    And then I move on.

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  27. Oh this happens to me all the time! I just have to stay confident in the fact that what I write is the greatest thing on Earth..until I get a second opinion, haha. The thing is if you don't think you rock it will drive you crazy second guessing yourself. You just have to be confident in what you do until you hear otherwise. :D

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    1. That's such a good point. It's not easy, I know, but having confidence in yourself is so important.

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  28. I can totally relate. Sometimes I can look at my work and decide that I should never write another word. It's hard to get over it, but you do - you aways do! At the risk of repeating myself, and giving myself a reputation - wine and chocolate helps me!

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    1. It's okay, that's the kind of reputation that's perfectly acceptable around these here parts :-)

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  29. I like your idea of searching for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors when things just aren't working. Sometimes I force myself when I'm feeling dejected. Your idea is a much better choice.

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    1. I definitely find doing something 'mechanical', that doesn't really involve being creative helps.

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  30. Oh, I know that feeling well. Your solution is a good one.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. I'm quite liking the copious amounts of chocolate eating that people are suggesting, too :-)

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  31. Walk away and come back when I feel more positive.

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    1. Definitely not a bad idea - no danger of destroying anything then :-)

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  32. hey - I like telephone directories! :)
    I just have to leave it all and try again tomorrow, otherwise the delete key starts to look to tempting.
    Lx

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    1. I like them too, but how embarrassing would it be to be sued for plagiarising one? ;-)

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  33. I think feeling dejection is that insecure voice getting the better of us. When I feel it, I call a trusted friend. She talks me down, or up as the case may be, and I realize I'm feeling artist angst.

    Play off the Page

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    1. 'Artist angst'. That's a perfect description, thank you.

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  34. Dejection is the result of rejection, which happens naturally whenever we take risks. Life is about taking risks. Salesmen say that every "no" is just 10 steps closer to "yes", so you just have to take those 10 steps. Go for it!

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    1. 'Every no is just 10 steps closer to yes.'
      I like this :-)

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  35. Oh, I always come around. Dejection probably hits me about twice per week. That's when I start questioning myself and doubting my abilities. But I know it will pass and I look forward again to when I'm feeling excited about what I'm doing. I always go back and forth.

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    1. You seem to have a good handle on it. Some of us could learn from you :-)

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  36. Step away, take a breather, then return when you're ready.

    Happy Hump Day!
    My D

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  37. Dejection is the perfect word for that feeling. I agree, editing helps.

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    1. It's just that feeling of doing something mechanical, that you don't have to think creatively about :-)

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  38. Generally, I'm just too busy to ever feel that way. I'm not saying that's a solution, but that's how it tends to be for me.

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  39. The highs and lows are part & parcel of the human condition... it's here to stay... I suppose the important thing is how we deal with it!
    I'd say, occupy your mind with other things...

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    1. Fair point. Don't try and avoid it, just learn to deal with it :-)

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  40. I agree that when you're feeling dejected you shouldn't judge your work. Let it pass.

    Jen from http://falling4fiction.blogspot.com/

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    1. Totally agree - if you judge it, then everything will fail!

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  41. Hmmm why do rejection and dejection have to rhyme and go perfectly in hand? When you get a rejection, your feel dejection. And now I see the wisdom in waiting before you jump back in and rewrite your novel after the first rejection. :)

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    1. Oh yes, definitely not good to try rewriting in the midst of dejection!

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  42. This is true for everyone I know. Grammar is an awesome focus. Sometimes, I also just read (not in my genre, I don't need to feel bad!)

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    1. That last little caveat there made me laugh - I know that feeling exactly :-)

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  43. I think dejection must be related to depression in some way, maybe a mild form? Enough of this, let's smile!

    Denise

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    1. I have lots to smile about today - that was lovely to see on your blog, thank you :-)

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  44. I usually deal with dejection by jumping right back in and creating something fresh.
    Nice blog post. Maribeth

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    1. That'sa good positive way to deal :-)

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  45. I think this must be something that every writer goes through from time to time. I've been working on my current WIP for so long that I'm almost constantly in a state of dejection. I have no objectivity any more and it all just looks crap.

    Great post!

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    1. Objectivity? You mean there are people that have that about their work? I'm not one of them :-)

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  46. I just go do something else to get my mind off of it.

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  47. I actually try to avoid "critiquing" my work and my ideas too much when I'm feeling down just because I know my mood will rub off on my assessment. So I just try to do something else for awhile, like call up a friend or even get out of the house to run an errand. A little bit of chocolate also helps sometimes.

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    1. Good point. When everything you read is 'rubbish', that's probably a good time to get some distance!

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  48. A way that works for me is to walk away...literally. Go for a walk. It never fails that some problem untwists in my head to find a better scenario. Stephen King does this too. It does work for me! I think walking gets you away from all the clutter and distraction and opens your mind to new ideas to form. Nice to be on the A to Z with you!

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    1. I actually like the sound of this. It could work for me :-)

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  49. I hate dejection. A serious "not fun" moment. Usually I put it away until tomorrow. Then I eat chocolate peanut butter ice cream to put myself in a better mood. :)

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    1. I have never tasted (or even seen) chocolate peanut butter ice cream. But I want some right now!

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  50. I'm going through this almost daily lately, with article submissions. At least today I got one approved, but the 2nd was rejected - for being too similar to the approved one - sigh...

    I just have to put it aside, find a distraction, then work on a different piece. I may rework it and resubmit in a few days, after the dejected feeling wears off.

    Great post and it does help to be reminded that others go through it too. Thanks!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that one of your submissions was approved. And I know what you mean about knowing we're not alone in this!

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  51. I usually deal with dejection with humor - it's the way I tend to deal with just about everything. It works for me! :)

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  52. I like the way you used the D word to weave in with this months IWSG! If you're a writer, you've felt dejection!

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  53. Could dejection be one of the symptoms of Pre Menstrul Syndrome?

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  54. you know, i feel like this quite often about my work... but i never knew what that word meant!
    that's my sarah, teaching me new stuff, huh?

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    1. Hehe, Sarah the teacher - how frightening :-)

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  55. I find that a walk outside always helps clear things up and I return to the keyboard refreshed!

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    1. Lots of people are suggesting a walk. I might try it :-)

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  56. These days, I dal with dejection be escaping into the world of my iPad, music, twitter, blogging. It's at once a very small but wide little world I can find comforting.

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    1. True, plenty of support to be had there :-)

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  57. Dejection! Such an ugglly word. Rejection=dejection. When this happens I just work all that much harder. I mean to make it in this world we're in.

    I love that last paragraph. You rock! :-) And it helps to know we're in this together. We've all felt the stab of dejection. *waving*

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    1. Thank you. And I have no doubt you're going to make it :-)

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  58. Oh yeah. Dejection happens every once in a while. Whether it's writing-related or not, we've all been there. Cheer up! It won't last long. :)

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    1. That's the beautiful thing - it can disappear as suddenly as it appears :-)

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  59. Sometimes dejection makes it hard for me to do anything! Thanks for this post. I'm a new follower.

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    1. It can really eat away at times can't it? Welcome to you, I look forward to getting to know you :-)

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  60. I recognize what you describe, but I guess I don't feel dejection too often. Thankfully. There's so much crap going on that if I started feeling dejected I'd never stop :)

    If I get to feeling like that, I usually go off and do something I enjoy. Go out for a walk. Read a book. Something to get me out of it. Then sleep on it. Tomorrow's another day.

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    1. Going for a walk seems to be the number one suggestion, (closely followed by chocolate ) :-)

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  61. With all the support of so many people, you should not feel dejected! But, I understand what you mean Sarah. I think it is best to give it all a break and do something totally different, something that will make you smile again and enoy the things you set yourself to do!

    It will be still there when you return!

    CarolynBrown-Books

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    1. And it never seems quite as bad as you thought it was when you come back to it :-)

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  62. I like your method - focussing on something mechanical that's more or less 'right or wrong' so the feel of the story isn't influenced by your mood. Good stuff!


    Jamie Gibbs
    Fellow A-Z Buddy
    Mithril Wisdom

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    1. Yes, trying to be creative at such times is a BAD idea :-)

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  63. I felt this recently. I talked with some other writers since they get me (I sometimes share things with my non-writer friends, but they don't always understand). I also keep working so that I don't dwell on negativity.

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    1. I know what you mean, I love non-writer friends but sometimes you need more than just 'I'm sure it'll be okay'!

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  64. Snap - I edit when I feel dejected. That's the ideal frame of mind to spot typos etc and as these can usually be fixed fairly easily I often feel a bit better after a while as I know I've improved the story to some extent.

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    1. That's true, at least it feels like something productive is being achieved :-)

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  65. Tell me about it. I have just subbed an MS I've edited to death, thought acceptable until I made the mistake of re-reading it. Now I think it's a load of rubbish and wonder I had the nerve to send it off!

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    1. Aww, good luck with the submission. I hope it's all in your head!

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  66. Some every artist feels, not just writers. I move on other stuff, music photography until the feeling dissipates.

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    1. I love that you pursue other artistic endeavours, that must be wonderful.

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  67. for several minutes after getting a rejection or reading a bad crit. then i try to fix it and read positive comments on my blog or from other crits =) negative is around to make positive come alive!

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    1. What a lovely way of looking at things, thank you!

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  68. Wise woman. Thank you for an insightful post. And I love the reference to the telephone directory!
    Gwynneth
    http://todayinshenaya.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, I'm not sure I've been called wise before. I like it :-)

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  69. I came over here from Denise's introduction to you. Isn't she wonderful? It sounds like you are too.

    If you write, you're a writer, and thus you will at times feel dejected. But if you want/love to write, you'll keep writing, no matter what. Sometimes I have felt like I couldn't write anymore. A dear friend just laughed at me the last time I said this to her, just before she passed away. She KNEW I would keep writing. Sometimes we just need to step away, as so many people here have said. Besides taking out time for my disabled daughter -- I'm her full-time care giver -- I more and more turn to books. I see you have a page of books you want to read. That's a great diversion. I'm re-reading a lot of "classic" authors lately -- Tolstoy, Chekhov, Hemingway, Fitzgerald. These master writers enlighten my mind with their writing skills. I used to tell my freshman students when I was teaching English that to be a writer you must read, read, read. I think this will help our writing skills more than anything else. And when our own writing seems stale, well, I just let it sit. It's what I call pre-writing. If the thought is good, then when I come back to it I can make it work. If it's really as stale as the telephone directory (great image) and I can't do anything with it, I toss it, shake my head, and move on! A very insightful post, Sarah. I'm glad my friend Denise highlighted you so I could meet you!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

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    1. Hi Ann, welcome to you. Yes, Denise is wonderful!

      Thank you for your truly encouraging comment. I know you have been through some very tough times (your book is on my tbr list), and yet it hasn't broken your spirit or your joy in what you do.

      It's people like you, and the encouragement you share, that make it so much easier not to just give up. Thank you.

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  70. Well, sadly, I deal with dejection by eating too much chocolate. *sigh*

    At least the chocolate is yummy!!! :)

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    1. You are definitely not alone in this!

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  71. I try to replace it with excitement about whatever WIP I'm on. It helps!

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    1. I really really want to start a new wip. That's definitely something I can get excited about :-)

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  72. I normally just move on and find something that changes my thoughts.

    Stopping by via the A - Z challenge link up. I am following you through GFC and linky followers.

    Feel free to stop by my blog at http://www.scatteredmusings.net/2012/04/buying-car/ (my combined b-d post)

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    1. Hi Debbie and welcome to you. I look forward to dropping by later :-)

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  73. HI Sarah,
    Great Going!!!
    Yet another word with nice explanation.
    Wonderful information.
    Keep going
    Best Regards
    Phil

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    1. Hey Phil, good to see you, and thanks :-)

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  74. Yeah, I have to tell myself that when I'm having an extreme reaction to my own work, either this is absolute total crap or this is freaking genius, I'm probably wrong. Almost always its neither :) Not a cause for dejection, but a cause for hard work and beta readers.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. I love this comment - we're probably never as good or bad as we think we are ;-)

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  75. What do I do with dejection? Hmm... sleep usually helps me! Tomorrow is another day. Or, if not tomorrow, then after ANOTHER night's sleep, perhaps the NEXT DAY is another day :-)
    Maybe this sounds odd, but sometimes it helps me to read a "bad" book. One of those books where I think, this is a great idea, but I could do so much more with it than this author did. Or, this is a cool story, but my quality of writing is definitely better than this. Reading something unsatisfying often helps to get me excited about my own writing again. Weird as that may be!

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    1. Sleep is always good!

      The 'bad' book thing doesn't sound odd at all. I actually have one on my shelf that I keep for my darkest moments :-)

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  76. good question...it really depends what I'm being dejected for. sometimes I just say it wasn't meant to be and I'm okay with it, other times it bothers me a bit more!

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    1. I really want to get myself to the point where I can always say 'it wasn't meant to be', but it's hard!

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  77. I read other pieces I've written, or poke through my annals. I make notes to myself when I am feeling high, so when I am low, I can go back and read those words and regain that euphoria.

    The LAST thing I do if I'm feeling blah is either edit, or work on a new piece. I might kill a good piece, simply to watch it die!

    - Eric

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    1. I love the idea of making notes for yourself when you're feeling good, to get you through the times whe nyou're not. I might adopt this one :-)

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  78. Oh gosh, this post came at the right time, I've totally been feeling this lately when it comes to my writing. Everything just seems flat and lifeless. Mostly, I guess I just take a break because I know if I try to edit I'll just throw out the entire MS and start over. Been working on it for two years... I can't let myself do that! Going to read through all these comments, look for more ideas!

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    1. Definitely don't throw it out woman! Hope you got some inspiration from the comments, there were some great ideas here!

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  79. The best way that I've ever dealt with dejection is to seek my true-and-tried friend Sarah W. I can't really call her a beta reader, because she's more than that and I trust her to tell me what works and what doesn't. My husband's pretty handy that way, too. Either way, seek someone outside of yourself--even if you're just sharing the idea or the situation and asking, does that make sense?

    But I totally relate to what you're saying. The mood does pass, but when it's there? It's hard to look around.

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  80. If you mean the Sarah W I think you mean then you're so lucky to have her in your life. That girl is awesome :-)

    You're right, it helps to have someone to bounce things off :-)

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  81. I don't get extremely dejected over my writing - we'll call it mildly mild dejection shall we? Like when the words don't come right but you know you can work through it.

    However, in real life, I often feel this. Well, really it's more like anxiety (I seriously think I may have some OCD, things can get bad), but for the last few days I have been feeling some definite dejection. Ah, teenagedom...

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I happily answer all comments on my blog, and by email if it's not a 'noreply' address :-)