Monday, May 27, 2013

At a recent writers' critique group meeting, one of the members read a short-short, sometimes referred to as flash fiction (although this was a true story). She had submitted it to the one market she thought would be a perfect fit, but she received a rejection letter. So she came to the group with this question: "How do I fix the story?"

It was already a powerful, moving piece, so I told her she should ask a different question: "Where else can I submit it?"

There are four main ways I respond to rejection, whether as a writer or in other aspects of life, and I bet many of you have had the same experience. Here they are:

  • As a writer, I submit material that isn't ready and then blame the publisher for not recognizing my "brilliant" work. In life, I sometimes blame others for rejection rather than asking whether my actions were ill-thought-out and easily misunderstood.
  • Better is the opposite response. As a writer, I may realize that my material wasn't ready to be submitted and use the rejection as an opportunity to rework and improve it. In life, I may realize that the fault lies at least partly with me and attempt to correct the situation.
  • Then there are those instances where I submit a polished manuscript but respond to a rejection letter by asking, "how do I fix?" when the correct question is, "where else can I submit it?" This was my friend's reaction. In life, I may try to "fix" something by conforming to the world's standards when the correct response is to reject those standards and keep going.
  • And sometimes I do. As a writer, I may recognize that I had submitted a polished manuscript and look for other places to submit it. Only God can create something that is perfect, and there comes a time in any manuscript when I need to stop making changes and simply keep submitting. In life, I need to accept that I will never be perfect in this world but press on anyway.
How do you respond to rejection?

Brighten It Up

Monday, May 20, 2013

One of the nicest things about living in a condo? No yard work.

Roland is happy that he doesn't have to cut the grass, and I'm happy that I don't have to plant flowers. But that doesn't mean we would be happy with a blah exterior.

Although the condo association does a nice job with the landscaping, it doesn't decorate our balcony for us. That's my job, and it's an easy one. I just buy some already-potted flowering plants and set them out. Instant color that brightens up our corner of the building.

Last month we also brightened up our entrance. From the common area inside the building, you look down a long hall and see the door that leads into our condo. When we moved in, the door was flat and tired, and it created the impression that you were in a college dormitory or a cheap motel. After living with it--and hating it--for a year, we finally bought a new door with raised panels and a nautical knocker. It looks much classier.

No matter where I live, there is always something I can do to create a pleasant atmosphere and cheer myself up. It may be as simple as putting flowers on the table or a picture on the wall.

Are your surroundings bringing you down? It takes only a little effort to brighten them--and you--up.

For Mother's Day

Monday, May 13, 2013

For Mother's Day
More precious than diamonds,
Sweeter than chocolate,
Lovelier than roses,
More delicious than gourmet meals.

Necklaces, rings, and bracelets,
Cadbury, Godiva, and Fannie May,
Fragrant Damask and climbing Floribunda,
Breakfast in bed and restuarant buffets.
Mother's Day gifts.
But best of all are happy children,
An ocassional "thank you,"
Sentimental verses sincerely meant,
Hugs and kisses.
© 2013 by Kathryn Page Camp

Technology Tidbits

Monday, May 6, 2013

I spent the weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the Wild Wild Midwest Conference sponsored by the Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan regions of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. The conference was informative, but it was also exhausting. So instead of writing a more thoughtful post, I will give you a short list of what I learned or was reminded about technology over the weekend.
  • I can listen to a book on my iPod while driving, but the voice on the GPS will drown it out at the most crucial point in the story.
  • GPS isn't always helpful, either. I asked it to take me from the conference to a nearby church, and it told me to proceed to Coliseum Blvd. Unfortunately, that wasn't one of the cross roads, and I had no idea how to proceed to it. So I took a guess and turned the wrong way, after which my GPS recalculated and gave me the necessary instructions. Coming back from church it still wanted me to proceed to Coliseum Blvd. without telling me how to get there. Fortunately, I remembered enough to retrace my steps.
  • Technology is the difference between a contemporary church service and a traditional one. If you put a couple of screens in front of the church and plug a guitar and a keyboard into a sound system, all you have to do is add a few newer songs to a traditional service and you can call it contemporary.
  • Twitter is on its way out--and I haven't even signed up yet.
  • A cell phone does me no good if I don't turn it on.
Still, I'd rather live with technology than without it.