I’m writing today’s post as much for myself as for you. I had a bad day. Some things went terribly wrong. This upset me, depressed me, made me feel not good enough, worried, and concerned that my project might not succeed.
We writers, like other artists, have to be ready to face bad days. They can arrive whenever a rejection letter arrives in the snail mail or email box, a bad review gets written about our work or someone offers negative criticism (Is there any other kind?) about something we have created.
What do we do when this happens? Hide our heads in the sand? Disappear into a dark room and never show our face again or write another word? No.
Here are six things I find help keep me moving forward toward my writing goals when I have a bad day:
- Call someone who can help you get perspective on what happened.When something you perceive as “bad” happens, it may not be as terrible as you think. Often another person can offer you a different viewpoint that helps you stop overreacting or at least see it from a new perspective. You might call a friend, a coach or your agent.
- Take a break. Go do something else. Time away from the project and the problem can be just the ticket to help you change your mood and come back to your work with renewed energy. You might also come up with new ideas or solutions while you are off doing something else.
- Brainstorm. Instead of thinking whatever happened marks the end of your project or certain failure, consider all the possibly options for how to move forward in a new or different way. If you can’t do this on your own, ask some friends or colleagues to help you.
- Take action. Find one or two things you can do immediately to move your project in the right direction. Send out another query letter. Ask someone else for a foreword. Get two new people to read your manuscript. Contact another expert. Start writing or editing another section of the manuscript. In this way you don’t remain stuck; instead you begin to generate new energy and enthusiasm for your project–and new belief in its ability to succeed.
- Trust. We all have gut instincts about ourselves and our work. We know things. Sometimes people tell us things, and we get swayed, but if we sit down, get quiet and ask ourselves what we know to be true, will come up with the truth. Have faith in yourself and in what you can do.
- Be patient. Sometimes things take longer than we like or expect. Everything happens at the right time, though. Be patient, and, again, trust. Setbacks often happen for a reason. So take a deep breath, and just keep plugging away.