When inspiration lies in our name
In response to Coffee Challenge; Why I am a pro shoutout movement
How did they all know I desperately needed that boost of encouragement to keep going? How did I not understand that like me there could be so many other writers struggling to find a foothold (read followers)in this vibrant community of writers? And, why did I ignore the fact that just one recommendation from all those in our network could do wonders for garnering support? The answer to all these questions lies in our own names. Yes, it’s indeed a wonderful feeling to see our names mentioned by someone.
Just recently I received a series of rejection emails coinciding with the occasion of Thanksgiving. These were some of my submissions to different literary journals that had promptly written back asking me to consider publishing it elsewhere. That was still fine since they say, there is great solace in receiving rejection mails-it kind of adds to your aura as a writer. Deep down you know that it’s not about your writing but perhaps the genre or niche the publishers have in mind. As a result, though, I felt dejected. It made me go through my work again and that led me to self-doubt.
Then came along another blow. It was a well-worded response from the screenwriters association informing me that my story could not make it to their Screenlab. Well, writing screenplay and synopsis is comparatively more demanding than writing on Medium or other platforms, in that you’ve to keep in mind the story structure and different plot points. Also, visuality is another key dimension while writing a screenplay. While on Medium, you can afford to flaunt your literary quotient, unless of course, you are writing a list of instructions highlighting 1,2,…6 ways of reducing anxiety, earning money online, or for that matter even listing out reasons why a #shoutout is important for all writers.
My tribulations surely did not end there. Being a freelance writer/copywriter I had appeared for an initial interview conducted by an agency based remotely. As promised they did revert within a day or two. Alas! it was another cannot-take-it-forward message. I was feeling nervous by now. All when I was trying to figure out what wasn’t really going right for me, there came in another despicable mail casting doubts on my creativity. Some simple text for a promotional video for a well-known television channel with a variety of offerings was thrown out the window. Agreed, it feels like you’re being ushered into a bright future, but the rite of the passage is so painful. This was the phase when views of my stories/articles also didn’t go up and nor did I get any notifications. I felt truly lost.
Precisely, at this moment I came across a striking review posted in the UK Literary Journal by Joanna Kavenna on the Polish author Wisława Szymborska who’d won the Nobel Prize in 1996 for ‘poetry’. It narrated how unforgiving the author was when it came to her own works, let alone those of the aspiring writers. As an anonymous columnist, she wrote on writing and even mercilessly rejected submissions sent to her by young aspiring writers. In the laureate’s view, a writing career is doomed even before it begins! However, the irony of it all was not lost as her works, mainly poetry and some essays written under a pen name have now been all treasured.
In all this gloom and despair, I got a mail from a Medium publication called Promptly Written. In it was highlighted my name by
the Editor-In-Chief. No recommendation, just a mention as a contributory writer. That did the trick for me. Once again I picked myself up. Got down to write this experience hoping to fit in the story structure. And also share the magic of seeing my name in the firmament of all peer writers-strangers still.
Now, connecting with fellow writers through the Coffee Times Movement has captivated my imagination and this movement looks inspirational to me. Also, it advocates ‘helping others while you are at it’ philosophy. From the rediscovered shout outs phenomenon to the rules for this contest (achieve 1000 claps on the article by forming teams), I eagerly look forward to being accepted as a part of Coffee Times.
As I write this, I hope this time I do get an ‘Accepted’ notification from Coffee Times. Here’s a big shoutout to Coffee Times Movement for conceiving this contest and for the awesome and very supportive publication by Winston.