Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dealing With Disappointment

First, a big thank you to everyone for the outlining help yesterday. I read until I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Literally.

And hey, I did a letter to myself over on Anna Staniszewski's blog. (I love her last name, but don't ask me to say it...) The letter goes along with today's post, actually, so give it a read if you have time.

Let's face it, we all have to deal with disappointment in our lives. Maybe you didn't get that job. Maybe you didn't get into that special college. Maybe your that boy you like asked someone else to Homecoming.

Maybe the agent who read your full said no. Maybe this has happened more than once. Maybe you've shelved your novel. Maybe you're wondering if you're good enough to make it in publishing.

Let me just say that it's craptastic, and I know how you feel. I deal with disappointment too. All the time. So what do we do to get over the loss?

Here's my method:
1. Get off the computer and spend time with the people who matter most.
2. Put on my favorite Hugh Grant movie.
3. Make caramel popcorn.
4. Give myself time (this is an important step -- don't skip it).
5. Come at the disappointment from a different angle.

By doing these things, I surround myself with people who love me unconditionally, I give myself distance from the problem, and then I approach it in a new way.

I find that this usually helps me a lot. I recently had a disappointment related to my writing. I followed this method, and I'm happy to say that I think I can think rationally again about the problem.

And it's not really a problem at all. Just something I have to work with. And hey, working with something is better than nothing, right?

Right.

How do you deal with disappointment?

56 comments:

Mari said...

I do something like you do. I shut everything down, eat something sweet while watching an anime, a movie or a good tv series. Then I go back on line and chat with the great friends I made on line. There's no better crowd for cheering me up!

I'm sorry you got disappointed in your writing venture. It sucks but it's sort of inevitable, right? Glad you could manage to keep cool. Cheers for caramel popcorn! heh

Deb said...

The best writing advice I ever got was a decade ago when I was advised to become excellent at something BESIDES writing, because it's much better to have something to fall back on both financially and psychologically. It was great advice... so when i experience disappointment in some aspect of writing, I turn to my other profession and create something that I know can have value, and I focus on that for a while.

Jade said...

The Pride and Prejudice mini-series. Mr Darcy fixes everything.

Thanks, I really needed this post today.

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

I use Deb's advice mentioned above, and do something else I can succeed at- eat! Seriously, I usually will indulge in something that makes me feel good, which I know it totally demonstrating food = comfort, but oh, well. I head for Starbucks or Cold Stone and treat myself for a pick-me-up. Then, I pick myself up and truck on! Ironically, the gym serves the same purpose for me, too. Thanks, Elana!

Marissa

Kris said...

Great post, Elana. I had a disappointment last week, and I just tried to put it in perspective (I had a mango frozen margarita and reflected on my great family and my health--someone will love my ms eventually).

And moved on. (i.e., sent a few more queries. LOL.)

But I like your suggestions--especially the caramel popcorn one.

mguibord said...

This is so important. I've had a set back lately with my writing too. What helps me is stepping back from the pressures, expectations, desires (which all come from me BTW) and focusing on the simple enjoyment of writing something. Keeping it small and real and mine. Oh yes and chocolate and coffee and romantic comedy help too. :)

Christina Lee said...

Getting down on the floor with an adorable 6 y.o. boy and being absorbed in his imaginary world--light saber battles and toppling buildings really does wonders ;--)

Jen said...

I work along the same lines you do, following most steps. Here is the full list.

1. Cry (since I'm a crier by nature)
2. Take a bubble bath (helps soothe the soul)
3. Talk to the hubs and then we cuddle.
4. Put on my favorite chick flick at the moment.
5. Eat LifeSavers Gummy Sours
6. Give myself time
5. Come at the disappointment from a different angle.

salarsenッ said...

Right now, I wish I had some advice to share but I don't. It amazes me how I'll read a post from a fellow blogger/writer/pubbed-up author (you, E) and they happen to be going through the same thing as me. As much as I love my 2nd novel, had all the peeps who've read it tell me the story is so unique and drawing, I still know it's not ready. *shrug* The beginning needs more. So I'm taking your advice: I'm shelving it for a bit. I was going to move on to my next already started project but now I'm thinking distance might help. The hubs is on vaca next week. Maybe I should take that time to simply concentrate on the fam and do things with them.

Thanks for your honesty, E.

Erinn said...

I normally get very sleepy and crawl into bed. Sometimes I nap, sometimes I cry. But going to the most comfortable place on the planet is my big thing. Thing is I don't have the the attention span to stay depressed for too long. I normally mope for about a week and shake it off.

Anna said...

Chocolate :-) And since so much of the publishing process is out of our control, I try to focus on the things I can control, like writing new things.

Palindrome said...

I listen to a lot of music. I play a ton of plants vs zombies or something equally pointless but fun. I eat 24-reos. Talk my fears over with the Man, he knows me inside and out, kinda like a therapist that I can't fire.

Scott said...

I'm disappointed you didn't mention margaritas! Ha!

Seriously, I often just get on the couch and let the animals pile on top of me. There's something comforting about that, and knowing they love me no matter what!

Then, there's just the fact that disappointment is a part of life, and I can let it beat me down, or I can accept it's just a part of life and keep on trying. I take the second option, btw.

S

Scott said...

Yo, dudette, check out this link about your new favorite topic: synopsis.

http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/2010/08/simply-synopses.html

I don't know if it will help or not, but as for me, I take all the help I can get on the synopsis.

S

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I allow myself 28 minutes of tears. Then I move on and do what I can to improve & learn.
~ Wendy

Matthew Rush said...

I do pretty much exactly what you do. Minus Hugh Grant.

Stephanie McGee said...

Nowhere near so calmly. And sans Hugh Grant.

Aubrie said...

Those are all great ways to deal with disappointment! Except I put on an Orlando Bloom movie instead. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

When it's bad, I read and spend time with my family. Other times, I remember why I write. Because I enjoy it even if I never get published. I do seem to feel doubt/disappointment that I'm not farther on the journey, like done with a book, a lot. And wonder if I'll ever write a good enough story. So I wonder why I am doing all this. But I always come back to that I enjoy the creative process.

Tez Miller said...

Staniszewski = "Stah-ni-ZHEV-ski"?

Sara B. Larson said...

A great post, and one I'll have to remember. I'm sorry you had a disappointment. Let me know if you need anything! (we still need to make it to that Thai place!)

Lydia Kang said...

Like you say, perpective helps. And especially coming at it from another angle, and time.
I find that the disappointments aren't nearly as bad when I have a few days to mull it over.
Great post!

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

I brood for a while then move on. It’s the only thing I can do.

Laura Marcella said...

Watching Disney movies and reading Calvin and Hobbes comics help me deal with disappointment! It boosts my spirits so I can accept the setback and figure out how to move passed it.

Coloring helps a lot, too!

Bethany Wiggins said...

You nailed it with number one. Add to that some great outdoors or time swimming at the rec center and you've got my secret solutions. And caramel popcorn? You so need to share that recipe!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Lots of music, good movies, reality TV, friends and family do the mind and heart good :)

lynnrush said...

Nicely said, Elana.
Your list is a good one. Especially the #1.

That's really important to me. I get rejuvenated that way, bigtime.

Another one for me is to go on a long, long bike ride, alone. Just me and my thoughts and some kickin' music. I usually pray, think, and push my legs and lungs beyond measure.

That helps the most along with hanging with the important people. Those two together get me back on track very well!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Those are all good remedies for the blues. I also listen to music, take a nap and/or a walk and wine (I mean whine) to friends. Creating something new or using a different talent from the one that got wounded also helps.

sarahmullengilbert said...

Turn to the awesome kidlit community for support and inspiration...and the caramel corn and Pride and Prejudice mini series. Always helpful :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Spend time with my family. Do something for me. As a mom of soon to be two children under the age of 2, I don't get a lot of personal "me" time.

Krista said...

Your list is great and I tend to do the same things. But sometimes, especially if I'm confused, I blog about the predicament (trying not to sound whiney), and the feedback and encouragement is usually AWESOME.
I also call my sister. :D

Jemi Fraser said...

I need to take time, watch a fun chick flick or fantasy show (Miss Congeniality & Serenity always work) and separate myself from the problem for a bit.

Lisa_Gibson said...

In times of disappointment I turn to homicidal rage. Just kidding! I'm pretty much like everyone else. A little Hagen Daz, some time with my pretend movie star boyfriend (who totally 'gets' me), and I eventually get my butt in gear again. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Heather said...

Thank you oh wise one. I needed this so much! I love your method and am going to try it. :-)

Jessica Hill said...

This is a great post. I think we need to remember that all of us experience disappointment or setbacks at some time or another.

As far as dealing with that disappointment, I do some things similar to what you've mentioned, but also like Deb mentioned, I'll take time away and focus on something else that I'm passionate about.

Paul Greci said...

For me, time is important. Some quiet time. Some time with family and friends. Some time spent outside.

Tere Kirkland said...

Totally agree with you. Except... HUGH GRANT? Really? ;)

Candyland said...

I cry. Like until my eyes fall out. And I complain to anyone who'll listen. And then I move on.

Kathryn said...

Fave Hugh Grant film: "About A Boy". Hands down.

Yeah, time and spending time with friends helps. Shopping too...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm not sure Hugh Grant would help, but practicing my guitar always brings peace.

J.A. Palermo said...

I feel like crap for a little bit and then get back to work. I'm just so freakin' practical.

LReneeS said...

I think what you said is very true.
I usually call up a friend if I can't speak with them in person or I call someone who really cares about me. I tell them all about it and then they tell me that's it okay.
I will turn on my favorite music so I'll ease up.
I'll write in my journal.
And when I'm all done with it I'll accept the disappointment and move on.
There's always tomorrow, and you never know what tomorrow will bring for you.
Happy writing,
LReneeS

Robert Guthrie said...

Breathing.

Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Elena! I'm so glad I found your blog (and now I have to download "from the query to the call"-- ack--better late than never, right?). I love your method for dealing with disappointment. Mine involves making a HUGE carb-loaded and cheese-loaded pasta dinner, drinking some wine and watching mindless TV (umm, Hello Bachelorette) for hours until I feel better.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Cry first. Then, since somebody already beat me to the chocolate in this house (as always)...my next best remedy is a walk. I need to get out and get moving - no treadmill allowed! Then I'll plop myself on the couch and watch a movie about some beautiful faraway place and try to get inspired again. A Mojito helps if its really bad ;)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

My way of getting over disappointment involves copius amounts of chocolate, or a hug from my goddaughter. Nothing like a toddler saying "love you" to make a gal feel better.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

oh, dealing with it! constantly dealing with it. it's always great to get other people to tell me it's really not that bad!

KarenG said...

Definitely in favor of the caramel popcorn! And shutting off the computer to spend time with those we love is the best advice ever!

catwoods said...

Read, garden, play a game with the kids.

Rejection used to sting until I learned to embrace it for another opportunity to become a better writer.

When I get really down and funky I write poetry. Dark, scary, deep, horrifying poetry to purge the soul.

Horserider said...

I do something fun. I listen to my favorite upbeat songs (I have a Keith Urban addiction so I've been listening to him lately), rant to my friends (privately), eat ice cream, and watch my favorites movies or TV shows (Doctor Who is awesome for pity parties). Then I wake up the next morning ready to do whatever it takes to get going again.

Also, chocolate. I'm trying to cut down on that one.

Belle said...

I like the steps you outlined. Hugh Grant movies work for me especially well - I like nearly everything he's been in, plus my husband enjoys them too, which is a bonus! I find sleep and reading a really good novel helps, too.

Susan Lower said...

I turn to my kids. It never fails that they can brighten the darkest days. We do crafts, go on an adventure, and eat chocolate and ice cream.

Like most of you, I shut down from writing for a few days. Then I pick up what every letter gave me bad news or prospect that disappointed me and look at it in a new light. Like a student reading the marks of a teacher or and inventor going back and starting from scrath. I write, revise, and try again.

Krispy said...

I think the giving yourself time and distance from whatever's not going the way you want is really important. It's hard to not dwell on the bad, but the distance helps a lot for getting a new perspective.

Thanks for sharing your method. I totally agree, and friends and family definitely help a lot.

Meredith said...

I agree--giving myself time is the best way to get over disappointment. I try to do something different, like take an exercise class or a salsa lesson or go see a movie with a friend, just to snap myself out of it and come back refreshed. Thanks for sharing!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Elana, I just wanted to thank you for this post! I read it last week while I was on vacation (on my phone, which epically *fails* on posting comments to Blogger 50% of the time).

Now that I'm home again, I just wanted to say that your #4 on the list IS really important. I have a tendency to not allow myself any time before fighting back and trying to *fix* a disappointing event -- without giving myself any time for reflection.

I also had some disappointing news recently, and then I immediately had to leave on vacation. It was frustrating -- but, as it turns out, the forced wait time turned out to be a good thing.

Thanks for reminding me that a mental vacation from the problem is actually a useful thing.

Jan Rider Newman said...

I deal with disappointment by remembering the times I haven't been disappointed, and I give myself time to get over it. Chocolate never hurts. Neither does a glass of Pinot Grigio.

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