Editor’s note: this is a guest post by T.S. Bazelli of Ink Stained.
Have you ever seen the show Shark Tank? For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a television program where small business owners pitch their business ideas to the business “sharks” who decide whether or not to invest in those ideas. All sorts of people come onto the show and, without exception, everyone who appears on the show is passionate about what they have created.
My husband loves the show, but personally I can’t stand to watch it. The sharks are merciless. They’ll rip apart an idea that someone’s worked hard at for months, or even years. Whether or not the analysis is justified, it always breaks my heart to see the creator’s big idea get shut down.
As a writer, I understand how painful that kind of rejection can be.
The world is not always kind to our dreams, and following them can be like walking down a bumpy, winding road–while your eyes are clamped shut. There are no guarantees and everyone stumbles along the way.
It’s not easy to get up when you’ve fallen flat on your face, but there are ways to dust yourself off and get back up quickly.
How To Pick Yourself Up Off The Ground Quickly (After You’ve Fallen Hard)
Reward Your Courage
After you’ve fallen hard, got rejected, or failed, make sure to still celebrate the fact that you did something that scared you. You took a risk, and a risk is a risk regardless of whether or not you failed in the end. So, have a glass of wine, take a break for the evening, meditate, take a long hot bath, eat chocolate and reward your courage.
Acknowledge The Disappointment
Scribble in your journal, demand hugs, punch a bag. Do whatever it takes to get it out.
Determine The Real Consequences
Determine if something can still be learned, or salvaged, from the failure. Maybe you spent months researching Tang Dynasty China, but, still, the story that resulted was rejected. Could you, perhaps, write a different story using the same research?
Sometimes it’s really the pain of the failure that we cringe from. But to paraphrase writer Ivan Coyote: “I hate to break it to you, but you’re already not-published, so being rejected doesn’t really change anything.”
Get Excited About What’s Next
Come up with a plan for what’s next for you. If, for example, you’ve sent out a story only to have it rejected, maybe there’s a better market to send it to? If the original idea is a failure, ask yourself how you can make it work the next time around.
Find People Or Blogs That Encourage You
I have a “feel good” folder in my feed reader full of blogs that inspire me artistically, or are about living positively. (Courage 2 Create is one of the blogs I keep in that folder). I read blogs in this folder first thing in the morning if I’m feeling a little blue.
If you’re having a rough time, finding a community filled with people going through the same frustrations you’re going through is often very encouraging.
Finally, Dust Yourself Off And Keep Trying
I hope you pat yourself on the back every time you do something scary, propose an idea, or try something new.
Remember: putting yourself out there wouldn’t be courageous if it didn’t make you scared.
I think that throwing your ideas out into the world to potentially be criticized or rejected–while following your dreams and living with passion–is one of the bravest things you can do.
T. S. Bazelli is a computer programmer and writer of speculative fiction from the rainy West Coast of Canada. She blogs about the writer’s life, folklore, and inspiration at www.tsbazelli.com.