Guest Post: Dr. Maria and the One-Two Punch

I am delighted to bring you my first guest-blogger, Maria!

Writing is a tough life and it’s even harder when faced with fear and rejection.

From the moment we submit our work for appraisal, we are scolded and prodded and made to feel lower than amoeba. And don’t even get me started about what happens after you get published. Total strangers will come out of the woodworks to marginalize you and your work.

:sigh: Everybody’s a critic.

As I’ve come to terms with the life I’ve chosen, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep from falling into the well-known slumps all writers face. I’ve gotten so good at beating the blues, I’ve even given myself a doctorate in Punchology.

Just call me, Doc.

There are basically two kinds of depression, the kind that’s hardwired into your brain (nature), and the kind you earn from disappointment (nurture).

I can’t help you with the hardwired downers, but I can tell you how to beat the other kind.

• Develop a support group. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not quite as simple as having a shoulder to cry on. You need a group of people who will not only empathize, but push you back on that horse. Don’t settle for pats on the back. Look for a group that will also give you that boot to the butt.

• Create a safe place. Whenever I get one too many rejections or a stinging review, I go to my garden and pull weeds. Pulling weeds is good for any kind of contemplation, but especially useful when you want to fight back without causing bodily harm to anyone.

• De-clutter. A clean desk soothes a troubled mind. It’s amazing how much more productive you’ll be too. It’s cathartic and it gives you less niches for depression to set in.

• Distract yourself. Distractions can be anything. Movies, books, running—even the occasional chocolate truffle. It’s all good…especially the truffles.

• Get a pet. Seriously. Nothing beats a sweet dog kiss or the gentle purr of a cat. Besides you’ll be too busy catering to them to think about yourself.

• Volunteer. I don’t know what it is about volunteering, but I can guarantee you that it works. It doesn’t matter where you volunteer either. Though if you volunteer for your writing group or a big conference you are bound to get a bonus with all the new people you’ll meet.

• Punch somebody out. 🙂 Okay. Not really. But sometimes depression needs more than flowers and peppy music. It needs a hard right hook. Before I became gimpy, I used to walk a lot. Other people might use kickboxing or aerobics. It can be anything. All you need is a physical outlet to vent your anger.

When all else fails, just scream.

—Only, make sure no one can hear you. We don’t want the police to break down your door.

Your Turn: If you too would like your very own Doctorate of Punchology, tell me what you do to give yourself a lift.

***

Maria Zannini’s latest release is a science fiction romance called TRUE BELIEVERS.

Mix one cynical immortal and one true believer and throw them into the biggest alien-hunt the world has never known. Rachel Cruz is a Nephilim masquerading as an archeologist and she’s stuck with an alien who believes she can lead him to his ancestral gods. Black Ops wants to find these gods too. They want them dead.

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Comments

Guest Post: Dr. Maria and the One-Two Punch — 21 Comments

  1. I can usually sense rejections a mile away – yeah am psychic about those kinda things. so when I get it i’ve already kinda mourned over it and I have already reached a decision whether to salvage the ms or not.
    My flaky brain does the rest, it conveniently forgets i just got an R and moves on

    • Thanks for visiting me, Maria! I’m delighted to have you. ^_^

      My usual coping strategy with a slump is to read a book by one of my favorite authors and snack on comfort food while I ignore the world for several hours on end. I always feel better, and sometimes I end up inspired as well.

  2. Ah, here’s everybody. I couldn’t see any comments for a while.

    Joanna: LOL! I love that! It hurts less when you’re expecting it and then when it’s good news, you can look like those Academy Award winners when the camera pans to them, gesturing to themselves. Me? I really won. Aw shucks.

    I like your where you’re coming from Joanna.

  3. Scarlett: I wasn’t joking…or was I?

    The good part about being a writer is that I want to punch someone out, I usually write it into the book.

    Nice to meet you, Scarlett! Thanks for popping in.

  4. Dru: I don’t watch much tv, but I am a HUGE movie buff. That is probably my favorite way to get over my low mood. Someday, we are going to have to sit down and discuss movie favorites.

    Thanks for coming over.

  5. Great tips, Maria! I look for ways to have at least some small success. Meeting small goals can feel good if you track and celebrate them. I also have a bulletin board where I post reminders of past successes. Finally, I try to focus on the love of writing and remind myself often that it is more about the journey than the destination.

  6. Maria, Lia nice place to come visit and now that I have found it will be back!

    Depression has been a booger bear for me to combat for years, since starting a blog that allows me to connect with people who love the same books, movies, jokes and generally have a lot of the same life challenges that I do it has helped more than any weed pulling I have done in my life… Even reading for escape in books is sweeter now that have others to talk to about the books besides my cat who just wants to chew on them! Like you Maria before I got crippled from different injuries to my back and knees outside work in the yard was my mood lifter, now do good to get out and even mow my yard when it needs it!

    jackie >_<

  7. Maria, they’re all great tips for dealing with the blues. In the interests of tough love, I also remind myself — “If you wanted guarantees, you wouldn’t have taken up writing.” The “downs” have always been my personal proof that writing is more than a hobby — after all, who’d go through the agony of submitting and being rejected if they weren’t committed to becoming/being an author? And they make the acceptances sunshine joyful.

  8. Jackie, you hit the nail on the head. Depression seems to hit harder on people who don’t have a network. Thanks to the internet, we’re more connected than before. I find there’s always someone I can talk to somewhere in the world.

  9. Jackie B, I’m glad you’ll be coming back to my humble corner of the blogosphere. ^_^

    I too find blogging to be somewhat cathartic (it also ensures that I write a certain amount at least once or twice a week, even if it isn’t exactly on any WIPs) but my biggest online support system has to be Absolute Write forums. I love that forum, and have definitely made a LOT of great friends over there.

  10. The problem with the internet as a network, though, is that it can lead to superficial friendships. We tend to forget that the people we’re emailing, chatting to, interacting with on fora, are real, flesh and blood people. They don’t go away when we shut down the laptop.

    I honestly believe the ‘tubes (as I call it) can lead to superficial friendships.

    Too, it can lead to ‘meeting’ with people you wouldn’t normally in your normal course of events, so it goes both ways. It makes the world a village, but it can also make people disposable.

    Why yes, I have taken imigran within the last 24 hours, hence my rambling philosophising. Look at the pretty colours on the wall…

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