The short answer to that, for me, is not well…at first.
In fact, ‘not well’ is a gross understatement. Depending on the particulars of the setback, on one end of the spectrum, I may get angry and loud or on the other end, I may get positively hysterical, screaming and crying and pounding my fist on the closest hard surface, be it a table or someone’s noggin.
The latter was a recent reaction to losing an entire manuscript just as I was about to begin editing. Doesn’t matter how it happened, but my reaction was over the top, just a little. (I pounded my desk and not Hubby’s head, by the way.)
Naturally, all I could think about was how much time, blood, sweat and tears went into that story. How would I ever retrieve the whole of it from my less than stellar memory? Did I even have any more blood, sweat and tears to shed? And time? Well, I had beta readers and a pro editor waiting on me. The rest of the day is a blur of padding around the house with my head down, staring into space, while alternately indulging in fits of sobbing.
My mood had brightened by the time I woke the next morning. Oh I was still reeling from the shock of it all, but I could see clearly now what I had to do.
There was only one thing I could allow myself to do…begin again.
On the path to your own dreams and goals, all sorts of obstacles can block the path. The small stones that can litter the path are easy to kick out of your way. Then, there is the monstrous boulder. When it falls onto your path, you need some help moving an obstacle of that size.
In my case, I had my Hubs, kids and a few friends telling me “Things happen for a reason” and “The book will be better than before”.
Yes, it might be better. Or, it might not.
And that’s the rub.
Whatever you choose to believe is what you can expect to happen.
A covey of dark angels swoop down on you and ask questions like:
“Are you sure you want to do this all over again?”
“Wouldn’t you rather sit back, binge on chocolate and read all day?”
“You don’t really think a second book can possibly be better than your first masterpiece, do you?”
“Hahahaha! Sucker! This was meant to be. Don’t waste your time rewriting!”
Yes, my dark angels really did say all those things. But not immediately.
At first, I was pumped up to write my “better” story. I knew I could accomplish it in a matter of a few weeks, too! My fingers flew over the keys…the first 3 days!
They waited for my weakest moment. The moment my burst of excitement, drive and confidence wore thin. I was easy prey.
The most evil dark angel appeared with all of his needling and prodding to get me to quit. I could have listened. I was certainly tempted. I even took time to think it through.
“Should I drop this book? Maybe losing it was a sign that I shouldn’t be writing it.”
An image of myself ‘walking down the street, shoulders hunched forward, tattered clothes, messy hair, carrying a bottle of gin’ flashed in front of my mind’s eye…that would be me as a quitter.
I’M NO QUITTER!
So I got right back to writing my story. My fingers aren’t flying as fast and I’ll need to replot the majority of the book but, it’s a fabulous feeling.
When you have a setback – when a big ol’boulder jumps in your way – take another path or find a way to scoot around that boulder and continue on your way to reach your goals.
Whatever you do, don’t listen to those dark angels partying on your shoulder.
DON’T QUIT. READJUST, INSTEAD.
You may have reacted differently that I in a similar situation.
Care to share your reaction to a setback in goals or plans?