by Darcy Woods
It’s no secret. Talk to anyone who’s been in the publishing biz for a few laps around the sun, and you’ll probably hear a reoccurring theme. The tough times often outnumber the good times. Exponentially. Why? Because frankly, there are an exponential number of factors outside of an author’s control. Everything from rejections to bad reviews, agent splits, imprint shutdowns, etc., can wreak absolute havoc on a writer’s psyche. Leaving us crying and rocking in the corner while mopping away our tears with yesterday’s cold pizza. Which we will then eat and you’ll pretend not to judge.
But there is another way. I don’t mean emotional suppression. Your feelings are valid and make you human. Congratulations, you have a soul! No, what I’m instead going to suggest is that once you’ve properly grieved, you try this one thing. I call it White-Knuckling Joy. Sounds like a martial arts move, right? It isn’t, but often requires the mental discipline of one. White-Knuckling Joy means holding on to the great things that happen — big and small — and celebrating them to their very fullest!
What are the “great things” worthy of celebrating? That’s simple. ANYTHING. Anything in your writing world that has brought you a sense of accomplishment or happiness. Some of my own examples:
- Agent and editor requests.
- Agent and editor rejections — but the real nice ones that gave me faith in humanity.
- Finaling in a contest.
- NOT finaling in a contest. (No joke. I’ve done Google Hangout with writing pals over a glass of champagne just celebrating that we had the guts to put our work out there. )
- My first great review.
- My first utterly crap review. Because hey, I earned my stripes as a writer!
- Remembering to shower AND put on deodorant.
- Forgetting to shower OR put on deodorant. Because I was that caught up in my WIP.
See a pattern here? With a few minor exceptions, I almost always twist a “negative” into a positive. It’s one of the perks of having an imagination. Which you have in spades! You get to recreate your own reality and shift the lens on it. Does this happen instantaneously? Rarely. It might take days or even weeks, but it’s a mental leap worth taking.
Hi, my name is Darcy Woods and
I’m a bona fide Joy Junkie.
Believe me, there are PLENTY of times I want to (and do) wallow. But the sooner I can get myself to see the glass as half full — preferably with champagne — the more I’m able to regain control and stop allowing outside factors to dictate my well-being. Happiness doesn’t exist because of an absence of sadness. It exists despite it. In other words, happiness is a choice.
So I want you to think back over the last month. What have you accomplished? Did you finish that chapter that was nearly the death of you? Untangle that messy Cat’s Cradle of a plot? Or maybe you conquered that query where you managed to distill 100,000 words into 250 compelling, concise ones?
Whatever that writing milestone or inch-stone might be, I beg of you, CELEBRATE IT! And whether that celebration comes in the form of a bottle with bubbles, a bookstore, or that Netflix series you’ve been dying to binge—do it. Now. Because this, dear friends, is what will sustain and nourish you. Especially during the famines of joy.
So in the spirit of celebrating, please share with us: What’s YOUR most recent writing accomplishment? The Sweethearts would love to cheer you on because we suspect you’ve forgotten how magnificent you are!!!