If you’re an author, a writer, or anyone who pours their heart out in words for the world to see, you’re going to face setbacks. Criticisms, rewrites, delays, rejections, broken promises, and backlisting are just a few of the setbacks to expect. Many can’t be avoided. Some others can be. The trick is how you view them, manage them, and your ability to get out in front of them. I reached out to some of my fellow author friends and reflected on what works for me, and I found three hacks that are incredibly popular for combatting setbacks.
Break Up Fitness. I exercise a lot, every day, in many ways. From kickboxing, to yoga, to weight training, you name it. Still, I find myself getting annoyed when people say exercise is the cure all for problems. Sound like a hypocrite? Maybe. But let me clarify. First, and most importantly, exercise is critical for physical and mental health so please work with your doctor to create a plan for daily activity.
When exercising, I’m focused and the endorphins pumping through my system unleash my creativity and enthusiasm for the day. But then I stop to rest or get on with my day and setbacks take place and I take two steps backwards into a “funk.” So, what’s the answer? I don’t have it, but I have found a great hack that works for me and evidently science agrees. This is especially helpful if you work from home and at a desk all day. Break up your exercise. Instead of spending thirty minutes to two hours in one solid exercise block, break it up throughout the day. Cardio or a walk in the morning, weights in the afternoon, and maybe a little yoga and meditation in the evening. You can even do more if it suits your needs. It’s also a great solution for those who are short on time or who feel a big workout is daunting and tend to put it off.
Build Mental Strength. My father, as a veteran and executive for a global corporation, never failed to remind me there’s a spectrum between mental strength and emotional debilitation. Though he used different words, his point was the more you worked towards moving toward the strength end of the spectrum the better off you’ll be in life. Ironically, he was giving this advice to his youngest, and most sensitive, of children. While the lesson stuck, it doesn’t always work. I’m still emotionally rocked by criticism and letdowns, as many people experience.
Though I strive to learn from my mistakes and focus forward, I frequently find myself ruminating on setbacks. Conversely, the less time I wallow, the more productive I am. And writing helps. So, I employ the mental strength minimization strategy I learned from a productivity expert. Instead of two hours, or even better, wasting twenty minutes reflecting on what went wrong and how I failed, I permit myself only two minutes then move on. Does it always work? No, especially on days when the setbacks come in multiples, but still, I persist in formulating this habit. It’s an exercise for building mental strength and working toward the stronger end of the spectrum.
Find Your Peeps. Even if you spend most of your days locked in your office under deadlines like me, it’s important to connect with others. As an introvert, who enjoys alone time, I don’t mind the isolation. But after a couple of days, I crave interaction. But if I’m struggling with setbacks, I need those interactions to be with uplifting people and selfishly, those who are consistent, keep their promises, don’t ghost, and won’t bring me down. Yes, I’m there for friends and understand the importance of listening and being a support for others during trying times. It uplifts me to uplift others. But when facing setbacks, I need happiness, silliness, and fun. Whether it’s over Zoom, taking a walk, volunteering (which offers innumerable rewards), playing a game, or sharing a coffee or drink, I, along with fellow authors I’ve queried before writing this article, want and crave happy interactions when combatting setbacks.
Family and pets can also provide distraction and emotional uplifts, but it’s good to expand your reach beyond the home. Setting up a regular get-together provides something to look forward to and count on, but it only works if you participate. Even on those days that are cloudy and you’re overwhelmed with negativity or feeling hurt by caustic remarks, find your peeps. Don’t shut down and hide. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and into the levity. Set intentions with your group that it’s a safe space to dump and then move forward into fun. You will do yourself a world of good and experience the glow of good juju that comes from uplifting others in the process.
Readers, Friends, Authors, please share your hacks below….