I have several helpful writing posts which include specific things you can do to improve your writing business as well as your craft sitting in my drafts folder, but today I need to address something different which is just as important.
Yesterday was one of those rollercoaster days where life and business collide with spectacular fireworks zipping you up to the top before plummeting you down to the bottom. As a result, I’m going to share something a little less cerebral and a little more from the heart. However, the take home from today’s post will be just as helpful and important as any tangible specific writing tip.
Before I get pontificating, the take home is this: The universe always has a way of balancing things out. Surviving real life is a mental game. (Tweet this.)
You know that ying-yang symbol with the black and white halves in a circle and how they balance each other? Well, the universe does that with your life. Sometimes we can’t always see it, but it is there like the scales of justice, always adjusting.
Yesterday was one of those such days and it was a reminder that life is always changing and always adjusting and you have to play a mental game with yourself in order to survive those real life rollercoaster rides. When you think you are having a bad day you need to step back and look at the whole picture. Change your focus. See the good things. And, most importantly, carry on.
Real Life Examples
Yesterday I fell out of the top 100 free kindle books on Amazon.com with my novel, Champagne and Lemon Drops. On the flip side, it went free in the UK (Amazon.co.uk) and began climbing its way towards the top 100 free. Balance.
In the morning I also suddenly got a handful of ‘bad’ reviews where the readers seemed to see exactly into my writer’s heart and spear my flaws that I knew were there but hoped nobody would notice–I had hoped I’d edited them out or at least glossed them sufficiently. I had what you might call an OSM (Oh, Sh*t! Moment).
But then, after hearing some bad news and feeling like everything had suddenly slipped to the dark side of the ying-yang symbol like a boat being tossed about by waves… right before bed I decided to check my Amazon.com reviews and rank for Champagne and Lemon Drops. Four FABULOUS readers had left wonderful reviews that brought tears to my eyes. Everything shifted back on a level keel. Maybe I wasn’t a fraud after all… Maybe this would work out.
Another example would be a few weeks ago when my literary agent retired (on April Fool’s Day no less) leaving my nonfiction project becalmed in the middle of the ocean. This was two days after Champagne and Lemon Drops had gone free on Amazon.com and was suddenly reaching wayyyy more readers. Several days after that it began climbing into some top 100 lists. Balance. Again.
When the Scales Don’t Rebalance Quickly
In my examples above the balance has quickly readjusted. That makes it easy to win the mental game that helps you survive. The issue becomes those time when the positive paybacks are years later–in other words you feel as though you are hanging out in the dark side of the ying-yang symbol for a lonnnnng time. That’s when it is easy to give up, feel defeated, and wonder why the hell you are even doing this.
For example, maybe your book launches sort of like a weighed balloon. Crap. You failed. But then years later it finds its niche. I know an author whose book hit bestseller lists almost two years after he launched it. And yes, winning that mental game in that two year lag was hard for him. He felt like he had failed and he found it hard to keep writing. The little things got to him.
When it feels like things are in the dark side I suggest this: write down the good. It’s easy to skip over the good stuff. In today’s world where you are only as interesting as your latest Facebook update drama (ever notice how these are often negative complaints presented as entertainment?) it can be difficult to see the good. Train yourself to see the positive. At the end of every day write down three good things that happened that day–even if it is something simple and unrelated to your writing. Mmmm. This morning the coffee wasn’t bitter. Nice.
In the past I have kept gratitude journals where I write down 3-5 good things that happened that day (work or personal related) and recently I have also added a ‘feel good’ file on my computer. This has simple things like screenshots of someone tweeting me something nice like “Happy Birthday!” or a nice ranking for my book, or even something like an email from Twitter showing that one of my heroes started following me on Twitter. Look for the good. Keep your lips turned up. Once you start looking you might be surprised at how much white there is in your personal ying-yang.
You can do this. Win the mental game. Start today.
How about you? Is your world balancing out? Is there anything you can actively do to balance things out? Share your tips and thoughts in the comment section.
Click to Tweet this post –> Survival is a mental game: tips for authors.