Licking the wounds to your ego
My son is about to finish primary school. As part of the graduation ceremony, the children were asked to choose a quote. He surprised me when he chose this one:
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living.
Quite a mature concept for a primary school child, I thought.
What was more confronting was that I had to borrow from that maturity after a recent setback on my path to publishing success. I received feedback which wasn’t what I’d expected. I’d let the dream get away, get a little ahead of itself and was visualising myself as a successful fiction author. I’ll admit, I went on a mini writing strike when the news didn’t go exactly as I’d planned. I needed time to lick the wounds to my ego and the space to readjust my expectations about million dollar advances and global notoriety. A self-pity party, I suppose.
The reality was, the feedback was exactly that: feedback. It was constructive, accurate and not in any way slamming the door in my face. It was simply a case of “these things need to be fixed before we can chat again.”
For me to fall in a heap was particularly self-indulgent. I blame the time of year – we are all running on low batteries, with heightened stress levels and perhaps super sensitive receptors as December closes in. Had this feedback come three months earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have let its impact impede my ability to keep moving forward? Okay, probably not.
I didn’t think the motivation to stand back up would come from a quote my 12 year old son had chosen but I reread this quote repeatedly until I got out of my own way.
So, I have allowed the criticism to sink in and I will rest my manuscript like a good steak. In the new year, I will pick it back up and review it with renewed vigour and make the changes that are required. I’ll get back on the horse and canter down the beach with the sea breeze in my hair. Or at least sit down at the keyboard and bash out a better, more polished version of my manuscript.
I will start living again.
How do you lick the wounds to your ego?