Writing Wins and Woes: Recognizing the genius

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Okay, so you know you’re a genius. You’ve written a story, a book, a poem etc. and it’s great. It’s better than great. It’s phenomenal. Someone else has read it (probably a family member, but they’re objective, right?) and they said, and I quote, “Yeah, it’s good.” That’s a tad understated with your work of art but you’ll take it, so you send it in to a publisher. And they send you a letter of congratulations, nominate you for an award and pay you oodles of cash (okay, paypal money). Yay! Yeah, right. Actually, they send you back a brief email saying your piece is not right for their magazine/publication etc. They don’t even tell you why they don’t want your masterpiece. Huh? What planet are they from anyway?

Believe me, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. Let’s just say at least 400 times. People just don’t recognize the genius and what’s sad, you don’t always either. So what’s my word of advice? What can you do when someone/anyone doesn’t recognize your true talents?

1. Get a second opinion. It’s like when you see a dr. and you don’t like his prognosis. See someone else. Let someone else read and or critique your piece. Make sure it’s not a family member or even a close friend. You don’t believe all your friends and family will be honest with you if they don’t like your stuff, do you?

2. Revise it. I know you will get the advice if it’s been rejected, it’s probably no good. I don’t agree. Sometimes, it just needs fine tuning. Look at it again and revise it.

3. Change it completely. Suppose it isn’t as genius as what you thought, but maybe the concept is good, give it a total make over, but keep the essence.

4. Send it out again, and again and again. I will attest that you can sell something that has been rejected to someone else. I’ve done it, more than once. Just because your story has been around the block doesn’t make it bad.

5. Set it aside for awhile. I have many set aside stories. They are my children. I can’t wait to get rid of them, but I want them to succeed. I don’t want them to grow up homeless. After awhile a place may materialize that is just right for this story, or I might think of something I want to change about it. Who knows?

6. This may be in the revise it category but I don’t think so. Make it shorter or make it longer. Maybe your story needs more detail or less detail. Only you can know that.

7. This goes with number 4, but I’m too lazy to add it. Research where to send it. Read the stuff the magazine/publishers like in their publication. Does your story fit? Does it sound remotely like any of the stuff they publish? That’s really important. Yeah, sometimes publishers change it up a bit for true genius, but sometimes even genius doesn’t wash with topics publishers don’t like or are overdone in their opinion. They often tell you in their writer’s guidelines what they don’t want to see or do want to see. Respect that.

8. Keep believing in your genius. This, I believe, is the hardest one of all. When you’ve been knocked around a lot and told you’re no good, you tend to start believing the press, but don’t. Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true.

So, you’re a genius and you know it. Prove yourself right and write.

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3 thoughts on “Writing Wins and Woes: Recognizing the genius”

  1. Great list of advice, Shari! One thing I learned was: Don’t ever delete a story. When I first started writing, I’d delete the stories I’d finish but didn’t like. What I should have been doing was setting them aside, like how you mentioned in Number 5. A few weeks later, I’d think of how to make the story better, and then had to rewrite the whole thing. I quickly learned to keep a folder of “old stories” on my computer.

  2. It’s tricky. I save all my story ideas too. People are not enjoying my next release as much as they enjoyed my first, but the stories were actually written in reverse–I wrote the current one first and the first published one second. I’m beginning to wonder if I should’ve tossed the idea. But, I’m still fond of it so I’ll probably release it anyway. Hard to know when to let go.

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