The Five Stages of Writerly Grief

Hope to raise a few grins with this one. 🙂

Stage 1: Denial
This story is awesome. My hipster ballerina who fights crime with her indestructable tutu and her magic finger is like no other heroine I’ve ever seen. Screw the sparkly vampires. THIS is going to be the next new thing! My crit group just doesn’t get me. And I just know that new chick is going to steal my idea. I’d better copyright this story pronto! I’m only getting rejected because I’m an unknown writer–but how can I become known if no one will give me a chance? The publishing industry is just so unfair. I’m going to play World of Warcraft.

Stage 2: Anger
Writing sucks. No one understands me. Why is he getting published when I can’t even get a decent rejection? My stuff is just as good. So my grammer isn’t always perfect? What the hell are agents and publishers looking for, anyway? A good story? Or good grammer!? My story is f**king amazing! It’s ridiculous that I can’t get anyone to work with me on this. Fine! When I finally do get published, I’m going to make sure all the idiots who rejected me know what they missed out on. They’ll be sorry, just like all those publishers in England are sorry they didn’t take Harry Potter! A couple hours of WoW will make me feel better.

Stage 3: Bargaining
Form rejections suck. If I can have one personalized rejection, I’ll write a new story. Just one. Is that so much to ask? I’ll tell you what I won’t do. I’m not going to write another new word until I sell my hipster ballerina story. Not one word, do you hear me? Why would I waste the time on something new if I can’t sell the old one? It’s just logic. And don’t start the, “why don’t you try revising” crap. This is what I wrote, the way I wrote it. It stays. I’ll be playing WoW until my demands are met.

Stage 4: Depression
I am never going to be published. Why do I even bother trying? The publishing world is against me. I don’t know the right people. Hell, who am I kidding? I suck. My story sucks. Any future story I write is going to suck even worse. I’m an embarrassment to the word writer. I can’t even claim to be a scribbler! Scribbling is too good for me. My toddler has better grammer. My dog barks better dialog than I can write. Why was I even born!? Oh, yeah…to play World of Warcraft.

Stage 5: Acceptance
I’m never going to be published if I don’t improve those things getting me rejected. I have to learn how to spell the word grammer–erm, grammar–before I can even hope to understand the many concepts that make the written language the thing of beauty I aspire to create. I have to write, and rewrite until my work is the best I can make it, and if it’s still not right, I have to do it again. I have to keep my mind and ears open, really listen to those who know more about the craft than I currently do. I have to believe in myself, my talents, my stories. I have to write what’s inside instead of trying to catch a wave, or start a new one. Most of all, I have to sit my ass down in a chair and write. THEN I can play WoW…just for a little while.

*Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced this model in her book, On Death and Dying, 1969.
Note–I have nothing against World of Warcraft. I’ve never played. In its place, you can insert ANY activity you do instead of using the time to write.


Filed under Writing is Life

7 responses to “The Five Stages of Writerly Grief

  1. I’ve seen this before but it never gets old. I love it 🙂 and is, it’s so very true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this! My favorite line: “My dog barks better dialogue than I can write.” Thanks for making me smile.


  3. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    Glad to give you a smile, my dear!


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