In this continuing series, I will show you how not to give a fuck about your book rejections, bad reviews, and disappointing sales. Please see the table of contents at the bottom of this post for more in this series.
This is an idea I've come to love over the past year. Here's a newsflash, “It's not just about you.” Really. It's not just about me. It's not just about you. Though many of us tend to concentrate on our own sales, our own books, our own egos, that kind of thought can lead us into a downward spiral. In my opinion, and according to some research I'll highlight below, it's better to turn that energy outwards and concentrate a percentage of ourselves on others. Turn negative into positive! Let's do it!
When I first started writing and I hadn't met my tribe of friends yet, all my energy was focused on me. At the time, that was okay. I needed to concentrate on getting my first book out there. I was meeting people and absorbing information, but the real friendships developed slowly. Once I was published, I helped others and they helped me, and through that beneficial exchange, I came to love and admire a great group of people, people I was willing to cheer for no matter how low I was. Sometimes that small change of mindset can do a lot to help you give no fucks about your own problems.
Let's talk about envy, a negative emotion that makes us want what other people have. I can't tell you how many of my author friends are successful. SO MANY. Almost every week, someone is on Facebook shouting out about the new contract they signed, the USA Today or NY Times best seller list they made, the movie contract they got. Holy wow. It's a lot, especially when I'm struggling to sell 10 books per month. Envy coats my brain in green as I read the updates and think, “This will never happen to me. Why do they succeed and I fail??” But this is typical, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who reads these and suddenly starts giving fucks about everything. EVERYTHING.
But we can turn envy into something more positive, something that works for us, instead of against us. The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests…
In small doses, these emotions can be motivating. When someone else has what you want, this increases your determination to get it.
Yep! But notice the “in small doses” part. Lol. When I have a week where EVERYONE is doing well and shouting it from the rooftops, my own confidence can take a nosedive. That's a good time to rein in the social media and take some “me” time. But the weeks where I hear a good thing, here and there, I take the other's accomplishments and use them to drive me towards better goals.
This article at Psychology Today about two friends, Penelope and Barbara, shows us that, yep, book deals and success can and do come between people, if we're not careful.
If we cannot be happy for our friends, this is not friendship. Frenemies are often caught in toxic competitions more rivalrous than loving. If we hope to forgive the people around us their happiness, though, we must first recognize the hungry ghost voice that does not want them to have more than we do. This is a universal law. Otherwise, the void inside you that never feels adequate, authentic, sufficient, worthy, pretty, wealthy, or tall enough, becomes the dictator of your life and the bane of your successful friends’ existence.
When the void is large and we're throwing our fucks into it at an alarming pace, we're sinking deeper into an unhappy place. Turn your back on the void, don't give it your fucks, and be happy for your friends.
Being happy for others, truly happy, is the way to turn these negative emotions into powerful positive emotions. If you're having a bad day, ask another author friend how they're doing and pump them up instead. My friend, Heidi, did this for me last summer. I was feeling really low about, well, everything and she sent me flowers! I will never forget that. I still carry the card that came with the flowers in my planner and re-read it often. Small gestures can mean the world to someone else and help you feel better about yourself.
If I think I suck, I go tell my BFF author buddy that she's awesome, and I think she's going to make it big one day. If my sales are low, I jump into one of my favorite writing groups and throw some cheer at someone. If I've had a day when the words don't come, I go to Facebook and I post about a friend's book or I compliment a cover designer's work or I find some other way to prop up someone else and forget about myself.
Negative Thought Replacement, replacing them with positive thoughts, is a psychological technique recommended to get you on the right path. Think of it as “keeping your fucks” instead of “giving your fucks.” For every negative thought you have, replace it with a positive thought in the opposite direction. If you think, “Goddamn it, Susie made the USA Today best seller list again! I'm never going to be a best seller.” Change that from negative to positive by thinking, “Instead of concentrating on being a best seller, I will instead work harder at my own book so that it's the best book I can make it be.”
I realize that sometimes those things will get you down, no matter what you think. Those fucks will fly before you can reach out and grab them. Take a moment to meditate, feel happy for you, for your friend, and then replace the negative thought with a positive one. By turning my negative energy into something positive, I no longer give a fuck about my own failures. Instead, I give a fuck about seeing someone else succeed. I swear it works.
How do you deal with negative emotions? Can you turn a negative into a positive? Share your methods in the comments!
Table of Contents for the How Not To Give A F*ck About Your Book Rejections, Bad Reviews, and Disappointing Sales Series
- Negative To Positive
- Keep Learning
- Get A Hobby
- Refill The Well
- Just Don't Look!
- Temper Your Expectations