It’s time for another group posting of the IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
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As a writer, you've chosen a profession that introduces you to the pain of rejection. It doesn't matter if you're seeking to self-publish or traditionally publish. The mere act of producing a book invites the possibility of heartache. If not publishers or agents, readers and reviewers possess the power to drop you to your knees with a single word.
From 1990 through to 2008, I received enough rejection letters to wallpaper our ensuite. By the beginning of the new millennium, I had signed with three agents. The first one had a massive heart attack, the second had a nervous breakdown, the third was a renowned agent from NYC who ignored me for two years. When I asked for a divorce, she told me I had no concept of the business.
While marketing my first novel Dead Witness, a blogger emailed to ask if I still wanted her 1-star review. Although I'd received 25+ reviews for Dead Witness, her email left me inconsolable. The best part, recently, Amazon cut hers and several 5-stars reviews as if they're never existed.
Every time I received a negative response, it took the wind out of my sails and left me gasping for air. Yet, I couldn't give up. Nor could I take drugs, booze, or pot to make myself feel better. I had to find something to sooth the debilitating thoughts inside my head. Something that would remind me who I was.
I'd like to share with you what I found.
It's not magic. There's no mystic powers. It's a few thousand-years-old technique called meditation: the art of using your breath and a repetitive mantra to simply quiet the mind and relax the body.
If you've never meditated, it's simple. You find a quiet place, sit, back straight, feet planted firmly on the floor, hands resting in your lap. Close your eyes. Focus on breathing. Don't try to control it. Use a mantra; there are many. For instance: Breath through your nose while saying to yourself: Ahhh. Exhale while thinking: Ummm.
When you are ready, meditate on each of these 4 questions, one at a time ... then wait:
Who am I ...?
What do I want ...?
Why am I here ...?
What am I grateful for ...?Don't worry if the answers don't come. Focus on breathing. Relaxing. When your mind wanders, bring it back to breathing. Do this for ten minutes. If it's too difficult to concentrate, type guided meditation in the search window at YouTube and pick one of the many links that appear.
Meditation will take you to that source of healing, to the birthplace of creativity. Slowly but surely, the bouts of depression will weaken, and you will find yourself calm and at peace. If something negative happens, if you falter, find a quiet spot, take ten minutes to meditate, and remember: Failure isn't an option.
Here are a few of my favourite tapes: