How to Deal with a Major Setback (And Not Give Up)

Its crazy how this year is flying by!   Soon it will be time to start making those resolutions for 2012 to get us one step closer to the goals and dreams we’ve set for ourselves and our blogs.  This space is constantly evolving and the opportunities that out there for us is bananas!  It’s an exciting time and the fact that we can make a career out of doing what we love is so awesome.  Starting the journey to your dream is half the battle, making that serious commitment to yourself to do what you gotta do to make things happen. 

I made a few serious commitments to myself this past year, one of them including my book which you guys have heard about already.  I finally finished the draft and submitted it to my team for editing.  Was it perfect?  Not by a long shot but I’m thinking I just need to add some here, some there and we’re good.  To make a long story short, what has to be done is going to be at least a couple of month’s worth of work (on top of all the things I want to do with this blog).   What I thought I nailed, I didn’t and the vision I had was not the book I wrote.  It took a lot in me not to just trash this book that I spent practically three years working on and just say screw it.   I admit that I was really upset because this editing process became a much bigger challenge than I anticipated.  I was talking to my husband about it this morning. He tells me, “Well Rome wasn’t built in a day” and I promptly replied, “Well I’m not a Roman.”  Yes, I was being a brat but he was right. That stellar blog, book, or business wasn’t made in a day.  And if you’re like me who loves reading bio’s and features of people who are doing what I want to do, you’ll know that it took them years (and in the case of writers, tons of rejections!) to get to where they are right now.

So in an attempt to take my own advice, here’s can be learned from dealing with a setback so big that it may cause you to give up:

It’s okay to be afraid.  As a matter of fact, I heard Iyanla Vanzant say that if you aren’t at least a little afraid, then you aren’t dreaming big enough.  I’m still very afraid that I’ll put all this work into this book and this blog and none of it will get me anywhere.  Fear is a natural reaction and very necessary.  You never know how strong you are until you’re able to get through and conquer whatever scares you the most.

It’s not your time to shine… just yet.  I remember when I first started blogging, I wanted it to blow up like yesterday and my best friend kept telling me that it will take time.  Now that I look back, if I had the opportunities that I have now back then, I wouldn’t have been ready.  If a brand you really like turns you down or you don’t have the traffic that you want, its okay!  It’s just not your time yet, the same way I have to remember it’s not my book’s time to be out yet.  Take this in-between time to better your craft, develop relationships, and have so much fun that when your time does come, it will seem like it was just yesterday when you started!

It doesn’t mean you suck at what you do.  I’m still repeating this to myself because I had a lot of pity parties this week.  Just because a brand didn’t get back to you about working together or your traffic numbers haven’t increased in months doesn’t make you more or less of a qualified blogger than the next person.  The fact that you kept going where another person may have just given up makes you stand out!  Continue playing to your strengths and improving your weaknesses and try it again in a few months.

Setbacks happen even with the best laid plans and some can be more devastating than others.  It’s totally cool to be down about it but, like my aunt tells me, pity parties can only last for 24 hours.  So get all of those feelings out, take a deep breath, and keep on pushing!

Have you had any major setbacks in your blog/writing life?  How did you deal with them?


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  1. Well I haven’t had many pity parties but I have felt like it truthfully! My blog isn’t where I’d like it to be and I haven’t had time to devote to making it happen. Life isn’t quite measuring up to my expectations right now but I know things take time and effort, so I must get geared up for a new game plan and get moving. I know you will accomplish all that you have set out to do, just shower yourself with that grace you so freely give to others.

    • Thank you so much! I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and trust that everything that’s happening now is just preparing you for your blessing 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing this – I’ve been having plenty of pity parties, not so much about blogging but more about my flamenco classes which have been a struggle to get off the ground and make financially viable. It was good to read some encouraging words. Best of luck on the book edit!

  3. Well, geez this is a great post. Exactly what I need to hear right now, got a little teary eyed at the end because I’ve definitely been throwing myself huge pity parties this week. I always tell myself it’s because something “isn’t the right time” but when it is, I want to be prepared. And that’s what I feel like this blog is helping me do in some way- clear my thoughts and refocus, learn to figure out what I really want out of life and then how to make it happen (and be ready when it does). Thank you for this post 🙂

    • Absolutely! That’s what this blog helps me do. I mean just writing this out helped me feel better about pursuing the other projects I have going on and like you, helped me realize what it is I really want to do in life.

      I’m so glad it helped you and I can’t wait to see you tonight!

  4. I love the afraid point. Seriously it’s easy to get super disenchanted because of your stats or comments or a million other ways to gauge your success. It can totally feel like you’re on a treadmill running to nowhere ville. but I really try to keep a positive perspective and not even look at stats or klout or any of those barometers. I know I’m still working hard and would write the way I do w/ 2 readers or 2000 readers.

    CONGRATS on pushing through! Best best best of luck on the next phase!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, it does feel like you’re spinning your wheels sometimes but you’re right about not obsessing over the numbers. It’s funny because I used to be all crazy about them and nothing. Now that I’m kinda chill about them, just setting the simple of goal of having more views than I did last month (even if it’s by one) and I see myself meeting those goals every month. 🙂

  5. Setbacks are super frustrating but I love your positive words of encouragement. I especially like “don’t be afraid.” Like they say “you can’t succeed if you don’t try.” Just putting yourself out there is half the battle, and you’ll figure out the rest as you go along. Best of luck with the book!

    • Thank you so much!

      Yes, if you don’t try you will never know what you can do. Excellent point!

  6. Jenny

     /  November 17, 2011

    I have been looking for work and have thought a couple of times I had a great job (second interviews, etc) but didn’t get them. Each time, at first they felt like mortal wounds and I was super depressed. I hate to say it but it also happened when I was PMSing, and my PMS is pretty horrific depression, so that was REALLY bad timing, haha! I am still very unemployed but after getting some space from my rejections and being in a better place mental-health-hormone-wise, I am just as motivated to keep forging ahead as I was before. I am strongly using the power of attraction to keep focused on what I want to achieve, and made a crappy little “vision board” in Word, just images from the web I copied and pasted into a document to keep opening, focusing on, etc. So far I’ve deleted a couple of pictures because I achieved those goals, so maybe it’s working ; ) Thanks for this post, I think the things you outlined are the things we really need to be saying to each other, but don’t. “It will all work out” is nice but it just feels like you’re being patronized, these are specific things we can remind ourselves and others of and talk about. Cheers!

    • Vision boards are totally awesome! It helps to get a clear picture of where you want to be so it can help along in your journey getting there. I always envision myself getting up and walking down the hall to my home office to start my work day, with a phone to my ear, my favorite TV show on, and typing away on the laptop. That is so where I want to be and I think about it all the time.

      Stay focused. Things always happen for a reason. I’m’ a firm believer in that. I’ve gone on interviews thinking I found the right job and it never panned out. I realized that the way to go for me was to work for myself and that’s where I’m pushing myself to go.

      Good luck!!!

  7. MJ thank you so much for this piece. I feel like you echoed a lot of the sentiments that I have been feeling recently. I have been blogging for about 9 months now and I have to remind myself daily that things do not happen overnight. I would have a week where I would receive a lot of feedback or emails about the blog and then there have been weeks on end where it has been static. While I started the blog in the hopes it would lead to a job while nothing has materialized yet, what I have gotten out of the blog on a personal level has been so rewarding. I have other ambitious projects I am working on, a children’s book is one, I constantly ask myself am I setting my goals to high, but I feel like if I don’t aim high what’s the point.

    I wish you all the best with your book and your blog. Your post was an excellent reminder to pursue my passions, remain patient and have faith that things will work out in due time.

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad it helped you!

      I sometimes think too that I’m way too ambitious and setting my goals way to high, but like you said, if you don’t dream big, why bother? It’s great that you realize the personal fulfillment your blog gives you and that is a major success in itself. You need that fulfillment because it will help you get through times like this where you feel like your dream is getting further and further away from you.

      Just keep pushing because that book, your blog, and landing that job will all fall in place and when it does, you’ll be ready for it! 🙂

  8. You make good points, and your perspective about negotiating the potential pitfalls and setbacks, which are part and parcel of life, is realistic and right on target. I truly believe that things occur exactly when they are supposed to; never too soon, or too late…always at just the right time.

    The editing process, which I too am going through for my book, is a humbling ordeal. It is an arduous, but necessary step in publishing work that measures up to the standards of being worthy of having people spend their good money to purchase your book and the time it takes to actually read it.

    Therein lies the trade-off. Is it worth it to slog through the challenges to ensure that your book is the best that it can be? Of course it is! And in the end, you’ll be happy that you did; and so will your readership, as will your pocketbook.

    It appears to me that you have a definitive plan to get your work produced, published, marketed, and sold. This is where many new authors fall short – where visions of grandure obscure the reality of successfully publishing a book, and in doing so, neglect the basic tenents necessary to achieve their objectives.

    Regarding the perception of missing an opportunity? Well, I happen to belive that opportunities abound; it’s simply a matter of being in a position to take advantage of it when it comes around. Always remember this definition:

    When Opportunity Meets Preparedness, the result is always Success!

    This has always been the case, and it always will be!

    Best of luck in your writing endeavors.


    • Thank you so much! You made such great points! Yes, this is all part of the publishing process. It’s one of those things that you know but don’t really know until you go through it. I can see why many new writers give up at this point because it’s hard. You think you got over the major hurdle – finishing. Editing is a whole other ball game and is more difficult (in my opinion) than writing the story in the first place.

      “When Opportunity Meets Preparedness, the result is always Success!” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck on your book!

  9. I’m so glad you were able to push through to the next phase of our book 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m still wrapping my head around everything so I’m giving myself a two day grace period and dive right in next week. 🙂


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    The advice and reviews of this blog are solely the opinions and experiences of the writer, MJ, unless otherwise specified. Products being reviewed have been obtained via free samples from featured companies unless otherwise stated.
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