“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you
gotta put up with the rain.”
Who among us doesn’t long for blue skies and rainbows? And who among us hasn’t had to cope with rainy days, when nothing much seems to be happening, rejection arrives on our doorstep or an unexpected challenge rears its head? As writers, one of our most precious assets is our ability to rebound and push forward despite the obstacles that fate tosses our way. That’s why resiliency – our capacity to adapt to change, solve problems, and respond to setbacks – is so crucial.
One of the experts interviewed for my book Birthing the Elephant, Dr. Al Siebert, described the unique mix of qualities that make up the resilient personality. As he put it, resilient people are both calm and emotional, relaxed and alert, serious and light-hearted. Above all, they are creative: playfulness, curiosity, and a sense of humor are part of their response to obstacles. This creativity is key, because positive emotions increase mental agility and problem-solving skills while negative emotions weaken them.
That’s why resilient people tend to handle setbacks and problems so well: instead of becoming upset or fearful, they quickly shift into a strategizing mode and start mapping out ways to make the right things happen. Above all, they meet obstacles with optimism: they expect somehow, some way, to deal with challenges successfully and come out on top.
So, how do we strengthen our resiliency muscles? How do we bring an energy-boosting, can-do attitude to our writing life so we can better handle its emotional ups and downs? In a nutshell, resiliency creates resiliency. We need to strengthen our resiliency muscles by acting resiliently: by viewing ourselves as optimistic, creative solution seekers. Instead of giving in to anxiety and fear, let’s focus on reaching out – asking questions, generating ideas, seeking feedback, and pushing forward. Let’s bring the same creativity we bring to the page to what happens off the page – and respond to setbacks with playfulness, curiosity, humor, and ingenuity.