My current WIP–The Shiny Book Where People Die a Lot–isn’t going well. I hit a speed bump (one that’s about 20k big) and didn’t know how to fix it. Since I’m a little short on time at the moment, that made me nervous–would I still finish this draft before my self-imposed deadline? Would I have to abandon it midway through? I knew I’d run into the exact problems I did–so why on Earth did I start drafting before solving them fully in the outlining stage? NO ONE WILL LIKE THIS BOOK! I AM SUCH A HAAACK.
You know, the usual.
I told myself to chill the hell out and ended up looking at some of the ranting and wailing I did when I was drafting and editing Otherbound. The funny thing: I ran into a lot of the same problems back then, like characters not being developed enough, and relevations/turning points following each other too quickly, too early in the book. I also noticed just how early in the process I managed to pinpoint problems that would end up haunting me months later (mostly using the voices of my critique partners).
Several couple of times during Otherbound, I was on the verge of panicking. Every time, I calmed myself down; I told myself these speed bumps were normal, I went through it with every book, and I had plenty of time and help to fix it.
It really helps to look through all those frustrations of late 2011 and early 2012 now that I’m working on a new book. Because it’s true: I’ve been here before, I’ll be here again, and I end up okay every time. So does the book. Immediately, all the problems I’m running into now look much more doable. I acknowledge them, and then I move past them, knowing that if I can’t do anything about it now, there’s no point in worrying about it. At some point down the road, I’ll figure it out.
[Happy people] have an optimistic thinking style. Happy people reign in their pessimistic thinking in three ways. First, they focus their time and energy on where they have control. They know when to move on if certain strategies aren’t working or if they don’t have control in a specific area. Second, they know that “this too shall pass.” Happy people “embrace the suck” and understand that while the ride might be bumpy at times, it won’t last forever. Finally, happy people are good at compartmentalizing. They don’t let an adversity in one area of their life seep over into other areas of their life.
Sounds pretty spot-on, to me!