We all get knocked down sometimes. For me, it was just this weekend.
I made the mistake of reading a review that wasn’t terribly favourable. My heart plummeted into my stomach and my first thought was: “Why should I write anything if people won’t like it?”
Thankfully my little pity party didn’t last long. Looking back, I’ve thought about what I did to get myself back up, and here’s what I came up with:
Step 1: Dust yourself off
When you fail, when someone criticizes you, when you lose momentum: take a moment. Take a deep breath, and give yourself a minute to recover – not too much time, but not too little. You need a moment to heal, to think, and to assess.
Step 2: Sort out the truth from the lies
This is what happens during that moment: you consciously think of – maybe even write down – the thoughts that are going through your head right now. In my case, maybe “no one likes my writing” or “what’s the point of even doing this?” Seeing your thoughts on paper is especially powerful. Then you consider more than just the moment you’re in. In my case, I thought about the increase in my sales, and called to mind all the nice things people have said about my writing. So of course it’s not true that no one likes my writing. Just this one person who wrote the review. Then I thought about why I write. I write because I must – I’m inspired to. And I love doing it. So am I going to let one bad review stop me from doing what I love? Not likely.
Step 3: Confront the hard truths
Some of the things you hear might be true. Maybe you do need to work on grammar, or maybe you were out of line. I know I’m not a master writer. So I gleaned the truths in what the reviewer was saying, while being careful to guard myself from any hurtful negativity, both in the review, and in my own mind. Think what you can do to fix the problem. If it’s too late to fix that one, then think ahead to how you’ll do it differently next time. After all, failure is something we can learn from, if we choose to.
Step 4: Move forward
Most importantly, you have to keep going. You might be changing your course a bit, but the worst thing you can do is sit down on the ground and sulk in the middle of your failure. Adjust your focus if necessary, and get moving again.
Don’t let the dark times in your life get you down!