November 1, 2019-I read an article somewhere that talked about the calming effect of acting instead of waiting. It was about a group of soldiers (special forces) that became super calm when they heard that they were just about to experience an overwhelming attack from the enemy. Why? Most people when put in any situation that is hard (let alone facing the threat of death) would immediately panic, so why didn’t the soldiers?
- They had a plan of action.
- They had a sense of mastery and relied on their training.
- They knew they were in control of their next move.
All of the things above made them feel less anxious than just waiting around, waiting to see what could happen. Now, I’m not comparing being an author to the insanely important job of being a soldier. What I’m saying is that we can take a lesson from those who protect our freedom.
Let’s use a real-life example. I had an author friend who I was chatting with tell me that they just suffered an enormous set back. Their book was being bounced from their current publisher and their deal got squashed at the last minute for a much anticipated sequel from a more well known writer. My friend told me that she was absolutely beside herself with anxiety and panic because she had just been completely blindsided and rejected once again after so much promise. What would YOU do? Here’s what I would do using the special forces way of thinking.
- My plan of action would be to get to the bottom of what happened. I would see if there was a way around the situation and I would find an alternative route. If there was no alternative route available (there almost always is) then I would move on to my next step:
- Rely on my training. I’ve submitted manuscripts to hundreds of publishers over the course of my writing career which has made me a master at querying and the submission process. I’d rely on my training in this area (I’ve taken probably fifteen if not more, courses on querying to publishers) and get started submitting to other Houses. Then I would:
- Remember that I’m in control of my next move. I can start sending out submissions or I can wallow in my disappointment. The soldiers were probably filling sandbags and cleaning their weapons. They were probably stockpiling ammo and getting whatever else ready before an attack. I would get out my submission list, check the requirements, and start the querying process. The point is, I’m in control of my future, no one else. What do I want? And how am I going to build a plan of attack to get it?
The point is, there will be disappointments. But the upside of disaster is that sometimes something better comes out of it-self reliance, a better deal (in my friend’s case), knowledge of self, inner strength, and confidence in knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way. We would just like to say Thank You for your service to each person who protects our freedom.