When writers fall short — and most do on a daily basis — do they make adjustments and move forward, continue to fail, or worse, quit?

 

After skimming a new book by a woman who has helped thousands of professional baseball players perform at their highest level, it occurred to me that this approach can apply to authors. She teaches them the art of making minor, but crucial, adjustments in their response to failure Authors should be able to relate

 

The book, Million Dollar Adjustments: The Power of Small Changes On Performance, Productivity, and Peace, is written by Linda Wawrzyniak (Post Hill Press).

 

She writes this: “I have learned that in times of uncertainty, when failure looms, or right after some kind of failure or disappointment, we have to make adjustments in order to go forward. Adjustments help us appreciate the timeless truth we often overlook in the moment: success isn’t stability, and failure isn’t forever….

 

“Success isn’t stability. No matter how wonderful the performance or great the achievement, it isn’t stable or guaranteed to continue. Once we reach a goal, it can change. We change. Circumstances change.

 

“Failure isn’t forever. Even when we don’t hit the mark, this is also temporary. Once we accept that our attempt was just that — an attempt that did not achieve the desired result, then we can own it, learn from it, and accordingly, make some change in our next attempt.”  

 

Wawrzyniak says we need to “fail successfully.” This means that we learn from defeat, loss, or setbacks-and make adjustments to grow, preserve, and win. We can meet the challenges before us, regardless of how many times we’ve fallen short. 

 

Her five elements of adjustment are as follows:

 

1.      Take strategic actions. This means, “start thinking action steps into blocks and prioritizing their sequence,” she says.

 

2.      Believe in yourself. “The truth is” she writes, “when we are just serving ourselves, our beliefs may be too self-centered. If we believe we can do anything we want, we can begin to see ourselves as more important than we should. We have to believe we can make the adjustment, not just for glory or greed but to help ourselves or others grow in an important way.”

 

3.      Internal timing. The sooner you wake up and take urgent action, the better. But our minds don’t always align with our bodies or even our hearts. 

 

4.      Information synthesis. How well you absorb new information and apply it to your unique situation will dictate your success. The author suggests that you “look for and see patterns, clues, and information” in your environment, and use them to reach your goals.

 

5.      Knowledge. “Some people think instinct is some magical skill,” writes the author. “But in reality, instinct is long-term memory put into action….. All learning changes the brain and can change the heart as well. Some people learn action and consequence faster than others, meaning they need less repetition and exposure to it in order to learn it and put it in their memory for later retrieval.” 

 

Authors may need to examine how they meet challenges, embrace change, and actually make  adjustments. Ask yourself:

 

1.      How much do you slow down when you need to work through a new problem?

 

2.      Do you ignore or dismiss failure as an aberration, or as something that randomly occurred and out of your control?

 

3.      How do you respond to loss or a setback?

 

4.      How do you go about analyzing each of the reasons, in any given situation, that you failed?

 

5.      Are you open to learning new things, trying things in a new way, and trying new things?

 

6.      How confident are you in your strengths and ability to accomplish a goal?

 

7.      How often do you seek the familiar when attacking something new? 

 

8.      How proactive are you when tackling a new project or task?

 

9.      Do you tend to blame others or things that are out of your control for why you fell short?

 

10.  Are you committed to trying again and again?

 

“Failure isn’t the only time we need to know what our adjustment pattern is.  We need to know it to help us navigate change, uncertainty, and even detrimental temptations,” writes the author. 

 

So, the next time you:

 

·         Get rejected by a literary agent,

·         Receive a bad review, 

·         Find one of your blog posts didn’t get traction,

·         Are turned down in your quest for a speaking engagement, or 

·         See the news media shows no interest in talking to you,

 

get right back in there and continue playing the game. Do not let defeat or injury of ego shut you down or leave you trying again without changing your approach. Make the necessary adjustments and proudly fail successfully.

 

“I am not accepting the things I cannot change.”

“I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

 

–Angela Davis

Contact For Help

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at [email protected] He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.