Monday, 12 September 2011

Paying the price of lost sales

Earlier this year, I had huge personal problems regarding my mother’s on going care. For six months, I struggled to write any short stories. Those I did write, weren’t very good. As it takes several months for stories to be considered, I’m now paying the price in reduced sales as those ‘not so good stories’ land up on fiction editor’s desks. .
As readers of this blog may know, I’ve suffered from lack of confidence and low self esteem for much of my life. The confidence issue has been helped by hypnotherapy but the self esteem issue still plagues me. I tend to measure myself against my success so that if I’ve had a good week, which for me means selling two hundred pounds worth of stories, I’m more outgoing and I can take social occasions in my stride, but if I haven’t sold a story, I fill up with self doubt in no time flat. My thoughts go like this - I shouldn’t be teaching writing if I haven’t sold enough stories, I shouldn’t have a column in Writers Forum because I don’t deserve it.
The moment I get a sale, my mood lifts but the more time that passes between sales, the more my mood drifts downwards. I start to doubt my ability and begin to think that I’ll never sell another story, even though I KNOW that’s nonsense. This needs to stop which is why I’ve been seeing a cognitive behaviour therapist. We came up with a new mantra for me which basically says that I’m still the same talented nice person whether I’ve sold something this week or not. That said, I do wish Take a Break would hurry up and buy some more stories!
Today I’ve been working on my next guide for writers. I’ve already produced two – an A-Z of terms writers need to know and a book on why short stories are rejected. I’ve just put a link on my web site so that people can buy them directly from me. Yesterday, I had my first sale so at least I know the link works. It’s on by the way.)
Tonight I’m giving a talk to the Leeds Association of Secretaries. It’s taken me ages to decide which story to read. I’ve chosen one of my favourites about a man who gives a talk to a women’s group. His subject – insectivorous plants.
Wish me luck!

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