Last week I ran the gamut of emotions (well, nearly) when a fat envelope plopped through the door. First thought was that it was another rejection, then I realised it was a story I'd sent to a comp, and it had feedback! (I paid for the feedback). I read it avidly, glad of the encouragement and many positives, and then disheartened by the negatives.
All day, I was discombobulated. I couldn't lift myself, and I don't know why. There was more than enough encouragement to live on, and I agree wholeheartedly with the constructive criticism.
If I had to hazard a guess, I suppose it's difficult to accept you can't see your own flaws. Even if your head accepts you need to improve, and appreciates support to do that, your heart aches that you can't read your own work and see what's wrong and fix it. I suppose that's what left me so flat.
For a week now, the wind has been gone from my sails, though. I've been unable to get going again. I'm certainly not ready to work on the story that had the feedback, and another story I need to get edited for a comp is lying neglected on dropbox. At some point, I'm going to have to motivate myself to work even though I don't feel like it.
In desperation today I opened a notebook of the beginnings of my next novel - plot lines, characters and so on - and was heartened and excited by what I read, and even added a few jottings. And here's my advice to myself; if it is proving too difficult to address a piece of work, or even a genre, such as short stories, that you've lost heart over, try something completely different, and then come back with a refreshed attitude and a clear mind to the first project. Eventually the wind will fill my sails again...