Got a rejection for an anthology I submitted to, but it was a 'good rejection', he liked my story but there were other stories he liked better. Sokay. I sent two more short stories out into the wild. And I'll re-submit the rejected story to Fantasy magazine, see what they say. Such is the aspiring author's life. :)
I struggled last night with starting a new short story. I'm probably getting in my own way. What I should be doing is just sitting down and writing, letting the story flow out of me instead of trying to summon it out of nothing. I know this but still...
Part of it comes from pressure I'm putting on myself. I'm writing with an eye towards submitting my three best short stories as part of my Clarion West application. I REALLY want to get in this year. The competition is going to be intense but I want this so much I can taste blood when I write. Which is an icky thought, now that I said that out loud. Anyway, that's why I'm clamping down on myself. I'm not just writing to entertain myself (and hopefully readers), I'm trying to impress people and that's got to be a recipie for failure.
So what do I do? Well, I'll spend my commute time thinking about themes and plots that might catch a reviewer's eye but when it comes 7pm and I go sit in my Throne of Writing(tm), I need to stop thinking. I need to just write and trust in my ability. Otherwise I'll end up like the centipede who can't walk because he started worrying about how to avoid tripping on all his feet.
If you're like me, more of an exploratory writer than an outliner, just write. Worry about what to write before you sit down, let your subconscious work on the problems. When your seat his the chair, stop worrying. Just write.
That's how I got out of my little mini-block. I couldn't decide on what I SHOULD write, so instead, I wrote a scene what I'd want to read myself if I was browsing through Asimov's. Lo and behold, I got a character, a conflict and a hook that might just turn into something cool.
Oh and one PS, if you get a story idea, write it down. No matter where you are or what your'e doing. I spent a hour last night trying to recapture an idea I had last week. Maybe it will come back, maybe it won't. Don't let that happen to you, if you think of something, jot it down.