Disappointment can be a large part of the author experience. Frankly, it can be a large part of the human experience, as well. I’ve had my share of disappointment as an author (and a human being).
As a generally positive person, I’ve found myself shocked at some of the emotions that the frustration of this business brings out.
I strive for my default to be happy and positive, and over the course of my life I’ve developed ways to help bring me back to center when things aren’t going the way I feel they should. Lately, I’ve been delving into my bag of tricks more and more often. I figured I’d use this blog post to share my top five strategies.
5. Notes from the Universe
This free service from Mike Dooley is a great pick-me-up every morning. Each day Mike sends out a Note from the Universe to his subscribers to encourage them as they go about their days. The notes are customized to each subscriber–based on the form they fill out when they sign up. The service doesn’t cost any money.
Yeah, okay, so sometimes when you’re feeling down the last thing you want is a motivational poster. I promise though, the messages aren’t cheesy.
You can sign up for Notes from the Universe by clicking here.
4. Oprah and Deepak’s Free Meditation Experience
This is one I wasn’t so sure of at first because I’ve never been one to meditate. That said, even if meditation is new to you, at the beginning of each session Oprah takes a few moments to share the wisdom of really brilliant people. Sometimes she’ll quote spiritualists from throughout the centuries, occasionally she’ll delve into some pop culture and quote author/innovators like Brene Brown, and often she’ll just chat about things she’s learned in her life.
Then Deepak talks about whatever the subject is for the experience—true success, connection, happiness. And then… you meditate.
If you want to.
Or you can go have a Snickers, or whatever.
The free meditation experiences are only available sometimes, but they’re one of my favorite things. Here’s the link so you can enjoy them too.
3. Take a class and learn something new.
When I’m in a super funk and just can’t pull myself out of it, I have found that learning a new skill can be just the trick. I’ve taken courses on flower arranging (yes, those are carrots—because they’re classy), acrylic painting (this evening class came with wine), dessert making (I learned to light rum on fire and make Bananas Foster) and yoga (now, I’m very bendy).
Here’s the thing, often the key is just removing myself from the environment that’s causing the chaos inside. Learning something new ignites new brain cells (fine, I made that up). Really, though… learning new things helps your brain focus on something other than the problem at hand. That temporary distraction can be the key to long term problem solving.
Okay, so not really escaping in the sense of MacGyver.
You know how up above I mentioned that removing myself from the environment often is key? Well, learning a new skill sometimes takes planning before the classes are available, so in between I take a walk.
Or a bubble bath.
Spend time alone on the deck.
Plan an emergency girl’s night out.
You get the idea.
I do anything to help find perspective that helps re-center those positive thoughts. And, while McGuyver isn’t really popular anymore (though I hear he’s making a comeback), you could always go stalk Michael Stoke’s Twitter feed. I know that’s how Romance Chick Renee likes to unwind.
1. Feel the feelings.
This one is hard.
When things are rough, I try to really allow myself to feel the feelings so I can move forward and release them. Keeping perspective is great and no wallowing aloud, but the fact is that it’s okay to allow ourselves to experience the emotions of the moment. As authors, it’s key to future character development. We experience the emotions so we can inject them into the lives of our characters later. I have to remind myself constantly that it’s okay to just be a human being. And humans struggle sometimes.
But only for a little while.
Because we’ve got mountains to move, manuscripts to write, and fun to have.
And after I let those emotions percolate… I pick up my Post-It pad and participate in Operation Beautiful.
Trust me, it helps.