Okay, so I've been gone for a while! I swear I didn't mean to do that. But I was crazy-busy with planning and executing WriteOnCon (only the most amazing thing ever!) and then I moved right into work again. School starts TODAY, and I've been swamped with teacherly things, and motherly things, and well, when you stop blogging for a while, you sort of forget it's there... Tell me I'm not the only one who does that!
Anyway, I know I give you guys my professional development lectures every year. I just find them so inspirational, and I find that they almost always relate to how I'm feeling as a writer.
So we focus a lot on data at my school, because we're a Title I school and a lot of our funding comes from such things. One of our speakers was talking about winning streaks and losing streaks. He said something that resonated with me. He said that it only takes two (TWO) events to get on a streak, either winning or losing. Two successes to feel confident. To self-analyze how we're doing, and what we could be doing better. Two successes to feel like we know what we're doing. (He, of course, was talking about creating successes for kids, and I, of course, agreed and then applied it to writing/publishing.) Two successes to think, "Hey, I might be good at this."
Hopefully, you've been on a winning streak before. Maybe even in publishing.
Then he said that it only takes two disappointments or failures to be on a losing streak. Two failed tests. Two instances where a student couldn't perform what they were asked to. And this is the dangerous spiral. When you're on a losing streak, you want to give up. You criticize yourself mercilessly. You have no confidence and no motivation to keep trying. Not only do we start to think, "I can't do this," we continue that thought to "I can't do this, because I'm not good at it."
Oh, how I've felt this in writing. Two rejections in a row can get you there. Maybe my book is terrible. Maybe I'm not a good writer.
Two bad reviews. My book is lame. I can't plot. I should just give up.
The trick is to take the "failures" and make them into successes. Or ignore them. Or make it so you don't even know about them.
Or eat a lot of ice cream and have a writer's group to vent to. Ha!
No matter what, I felt that what our trainer was saying was true. I've felt it as I've pursued a writing career, and I know my students feel it as they try to learn math, science, and English. My goal is make sure EVERY interaction they have is a success, and I'm going to try to work through the losing streak in writing, anticipating a success just around this next corner...
Where are you right now? Winning streak or losing streak?