How To Pick Yourself Up Off The Ground Quickly (After You’ve Fallen Hard)

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

How do you pick yourself off the ground quickly after you’ve fallen hard? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

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21 comments on “How To Pick Yourself Up Off The Ground Quickly (After You’ve Fallen Hard)

  1. Daniela says:

    By always remembering what Rilke said: “Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.” And that there will always be somebody yours to take your hand … it happened to me and I recently recounted it in one of my short stories. By doing that I also relived it.

  2. Katie says:

    What an encouragement this post is. Very much needed.

    All I can say is that, after recently losing my Dad to a heart attack, I have been in a brand new mindset when rejection comes along. Life is really too short to sit around and mope when you fall down. There isn’t time for all of that.

    Each writer has something special to share with the world, so when they fall- it is important that they quickly get up, dust themselves off, and keep going. We are each only given a certain amount of time to share our gift with the world.

    Thank you for writing & sharing this. (:

    • I believe that too. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret not having done my ‘something special’. There will never be another you or me, so we only have one chance. You’re welcome Katie!

  3. Ah but the rejection is hard! It is a journey, but what a great feeling to persevere until something really good comes out of it. Thanks for the very practical advice. I’m off to add this post to my feel-good folder for those days when I need some perspective.

  4. Laura Lamere says:

    Thank you – needed some encouragement today!

  5. ansuyo says:

    Great post and some great advice. I have found your blog very encouraging and inspirational. Thanks for sharing with us Angie:)

  6. […] day because I'm guest posting over at Courage 2 Create, where I have a few words to say about picking yourself up off the ground quickly after a failure or rejection. I hope you check it out […]

  7. Kristan says:

    These are great tips, T.S.! And I love that paraphrased quote!

  8. One thing I do is try to focus on my personal and personally-controllable goals, and celebrate those accomplishments rather than focus on external validation. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some external validation, but if I celebrate “Yes, I wrote X number of words today” or “Yes, I finally finished editing this story” or “Yes, I finally submitted a story”… and then orient my mind on the fact that I did my best, and I’m happy with what I did, and that it doesn’t matter what happens… then I’m less bothered if I don’t get the external response I want. Disappointed, perhaps, but by focusing on the positives that I control, it’s not a disappointment that can keep me down.

    • I like to do that too, so that my happiness is in my control and not someone else’s. It’s still somewhat disappointing sometimes, but not as bad.

  9. I really needed this today, Teresa. And I love the quote by Ivan Coyote. Thanks for sharing your words (and rejection).

  10. Lyle Pigeon says:

    The wonderful thing I discovered after taking the countless personal poop kickings that life has dealt,is that … oddly… it takes less time, each time, to recover, once you realize that you will recover. I like the term individual resilliance. This can be developed by knowing thing are going to happen and this knowledge can help to keep you strong.

  11. Wonderful guest post!
    I think that these tips not only applies to writing but to life in general, for example when we fail in work, in our social relationships… we should just stand up and keep up our pace, learn from our experiences… 🙂

  12. […] How to Pick Yourself Up Off the Ground Quickly (After You’ve Fallen Hard) by T.S. Bazelli at Courage 2 Create […]

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