What happens when a story you’ve poured your heart and soul into stops working? Or you receive a critique that trashes it? Or a writer or editor you trust tells you to rewrite the entire thing from scratch? How you react to these situations could tell where your writing career is headed. Sometimes it can tell more about you than your writing. Here are a few suggestions for coping when a story goes up in flames:
1) Take a breather. Before emotions get the most of you, step away for a few days or weeks. Don’t lash out or shred every page you’ve ever written. Your entire writing career may flash before your eyes but avoid hastiness.
2) Write something else. You’ve stepped away from one story but the last thing you should do is quit writing. It’s imperative you start another story, plot or even consider writing something different, like nonfiction.
3) Reach out. This may seem odd considering that perhaps the story you dreamed would land an agent lies in a heap. But this might be the time to encourage another writer. If you’re still smarting from a critique, it’s natural to want to avoid those situations but you might just find that reading someone else’s work is a healing balm. Or you could post something positive to a fellow writer’s Facebook wall.
We’re writers and we’re human. Experiencing moments of frustration or defeat will occur but the key is how we deal with them. Take a moment to cry, scream or stomp – whatever helps you work through it. Then get back to work. Your writing life may depend on it.