Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Day After Disappointment

I entered one of my manuscripts in a writing contest and was thrilled when I made it past the first round to be named as a semi-finalist. What an honor! Usually, I try to ignore the dates for when contest winners will be announced because I know advancement isn't the most likely outcome. Competition is tough, and there are a lot of factors to consider. But this time, I abandoned my habit of sticking my head in the sand in regards to when winners will be announced.

I counted down days, and I got my hopes up.

Maybe this would be my chance to break past the semi-final round and into the finalist circle where, of course, my work would receive recognition and, hey, why not a few offers for publication, too? I've been working at this writing thing for over ten years. Maybe it's finally my time and maybe this is how I'll get my big break.

Well, Monday was the day finalists were to be named, and I waited all day, hoping the phone would ring.

It didn't.

At about seven, I discovered it was official. The finalists' names were posted on the site, and I wasn't among them. I handled it like a champ by moping around, eating junk food, and distracting myself with TV.

That's not a good place to let yourself go and certainly isn't a good place to camp out. Thankfully, the next day, I was able--for the most part--to put the disappointment behind me and move on with my life.

Maybe you were passed over for a promotion. Maybe you didn't get a call back on your resume. Maybe that guy just isn't that into you. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Whatever happened, here are some of the ways I've been bouncing back. I hope they'll help you, too.

Remember your faith. As a Christian, I believe God loves me and is in complete control. That means whatever success I see or don't see, I know it wasn't an accident. God will be using the events in my life to shape me, and he knows what's best. He doesn't make mistakes. If he didn't allow me to final in that contest, it's because he has a different plan for me. And when it comes down to it, his plan is the one I want for my life.

Allow time to grieve. Though for the sake of your jeans and overall well-being, try skipping the junk food for healthier comforts. Call a friend to talk it through. Go for a walk. Cuddle with your dog.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket--or start moving them around to new baskets now! I didn't just submit one story to one contest. I actually submitted two stories to this contest, and I was pretty disappointed when the other one didn't make it to the semi-final round. But, knowing I had one story advancing helped soften the blow. And now that I'm out of the contest, I have other writing irons in the fire. Since the contest is over, I can focus on those other projects.

Oh. You say it's already too late for that? It's never too late to diversify, and doing so can help fuel my next tip:

Keep busy in a productive way. This distracts you from the disappointment you suffered while moving you toward your next success. Apply for more jobs. Consider different fields. Develop new friendships. Try new hobbies. Whatever you're working on, take this disappointing event as a cue to look around at quality opportunities you've turned a blind eye to in the past.

Change gears for a while. This goes hand-in-hand with staying busy. As a writer, I'm also supposed to spend time reading what others have published. After a writing disappointment, working on my own stuff can be hard, but it's a relief (and it's good for my career) for me to lose myself in someone else's story for awhile. If you've suffered a job hunt disappointment and you've already got plenty of resumes out there, consider volunteering. It'll build your resume and keep you from moping around while having the added bonus of helping others. Chances are, whatever disappointment you've encountered, you have some options.

What do you do to help yourself rebound after a disappointment?

Your Sister


  1. Been there, Emily! Several times. You're taking it like a champ, and the advise you offer from your experience is excellent! Thank you for sharing your heart!