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How to Turn Your Writing Setbacks Into Setups for Success
Nina Amir -- Nonfiction Book Coach Nina Amir -- Nonfiction Book Coach
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Gatos, CA
Wednesday, August 16, 2023


writing setbacks can be turned into setups for publishing success

Setbacks… Setbacks are discouraging, whether its a rejection from an agent, a computer glitch that causes you to lose your manuscript, or an illness that keeps you away from your writing desk. No writer wants to take three steps backward because doing so is disappointing and disheartening. However, every setback can be a setup for growth, learning, a new version of yourself, and a successful writing carrier. And that’s true no matter its size, duration, or severity.

In fact, it’s not the setback that matters but how you respond to it. Suppose you react with anger and frustration—and stay stuck in those emotions. In that case, you won’t experience the transformation that allows you to move forward again…and complete your manuscript or get published faster.

Or perhaps you respond to the setback with curiosity and a willingness to understand why you’ve taken steps backward. Then you’ll learn important lessons, discover how to improve, and find ways to grow. All of this will help you become someone who can get back to square one…and move beyond it.

My Recent Setbacks

My recent fall, which dislocated my shoulder and knocked my low back out, was a setback…not to mention the case of Shingles I got once the back healed. Granted, I won’t be in pain or have impaired mobility forever, but it is a health setback. For two months, I wasn’t able to  go for a walk or use my elliptical or stationary bike. Nor can I use my right hand to pull up my pants, help me get out of a chair, or tie back my hair. As you can imagine, this also impacted my ability to sit or stand at my desk and write.

Losing my literary agent was a setback as well. It took me a number of years to get to a point where I feel able to search out a new one. And during that time I moved, my husband had a stroke, and two family members were diagnosed with brain cancer. Life definitely seemed to get in the way of writing and publishing, as it sometimes does.

However, my setbacks may seem minor to some people. For example, it’s tiny compared to someone who puts their entire savings into self-publishing a book only to have it sell five copies. Or it might seem small and petty to someone whose cancer was in remission but comes back. But it is a setback all the same.

How You React or Respond to Setbacks Matters

Writing and publishing setbacks come in all shapes and sizes. No matter the severity, how you deal with that setback matters most. Your response…or reaction…will set you up for more setbacks or success.

Reactions tend to be unconscious behaviors. Something happens, and you react to that experience habitually. On the other hand, responses are conscious decisions about how to behave in a given situation.

I won’t say I haven’t reacted to my injuries negatively at times—feeling frustrated and angry to be reliant on others for so much—like walking my dog and putting on my bra daily. I have. I also had a lot of emotions around parting ways with my agent, and my reactive habits impacted my commitment to writing.

More often, though, I have consciously chosen to respond with faith that “this too will pass,” and I’ll be better than ever when the process is over.”

Besides that, I’ve been looking at the spiritual lessons in my setbacks. Daily I ask, “What can I know about why this happened to me or I’ve had this exprience.”  And I’ve had some important insights.  After all, setbacks are a form of spiritual guidance.

The more I learn, the more I grow and change. These things become a setup to move forward faster—with my health and my writing and publishing career.

This video is a great way of looking at setbacks becoming setups…or life in general.

How to Transform Setbacks into Setups

So how can you positively deal with writing setbacks so you create setups for publishing success? How can you come back fast and strong? Here are 10 ways.

1. Accept the situation.

Accept the fact that setbacks are a normal part of life. Don’t dwell on what could have been, how things should be, or what you believe you lost. Instead, focus on the present and what you can do to move forward.

2. Identify the cause.

Determine what contributed to or caused the setback without dwelling on the negative. Once you clearly understand the problem, you can start working on a solution.

3. Learn from your mistakes.

View the setback with a growth mindset. See it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Ask yourself what you could have done differently, what you can do to avoid similar situations in the future, and what spiritual lessons you can learn. This approach helps you become more resilient, adaptable, and equipped to handle future challenges.

4. Reframe your perspective.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the setback, reframe it in a positive light. Ask yourself what opportunities the setback may have brought you or what valuable experiences you gained. Of course, trying to discern what spiritual lessons you are meant to learn helps, too.

5. Stay motivated.

Don’t let setbacks deter you from reaching your goals. Stay motivated and determined. Continue working towards your objectives. Keep in mind that setbacks are temporary and can be overcome with perseverance.

6. Embrace setbacks.

To turn setbacks into setups for success, it’s imperative to embrace them. Setbacks are not failures, just temporary backward movements. Yet setbacks and failures are part of life’s learning curve and help you improve at what you do.

7. Stay focused.

Setbacks can prove distracting. Your mind will want to dwell on the negative aspects or repercussions of what happened. To set up for success, it’s essential to focus on your goal and the small steps you can take to achieve it. The actual loss of momentum is created by distraction.

8. Take action.

After a setback, it’s essential to take action to get back on track. Whether revising your manuscript, seeking advice from an author, or trying a new publishing approach, action keeps you focused, positive, and engaged in where you want to go rather than where you have ended up.

9. Practice self-compassion.

Be kind to yourself by acknowledging that setbacks happen to everyone. Making mistakes or encountering obstacles does not make you a failure. So don’t beat yourself up. Instead, be kind and compassionate toward yourself. This keeps your mindset positive, making it easier to get moving again.

10. Focus on what you can control.

Instead of dwelling on what went wrong or where you find yourself now, focus on what you can do in the present moment to move forward wit your writing and publishing goals. Regain your sense of control and feel empowered to do things differently next time…or right now.

Writing Setbacks Don’t Define the Writer

Setbacks are an inevitable part of life—especially a writer’s life, but they don’t define you. They don’t make you a failure or someone who always takes three steps backward for each step forward.

In fact, with the right mindset, you can choose to be a writer and author who turns setbacks into setups for publishing success. Stay positive and look for opportunities presented by setbacks.

Have you ever had a writing or publishing setback that became a setup for success? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.

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Photo courtesy of Anna Tolipova

Nina Amir, the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, is a speaker, a blogger, and an author, book, blog-to-book, and high-performance coach. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she helps creative people combine their passion and purpose so they move from idea to inspired action and positively and meaningfully impact the world as writers, bloggers, authorpreneurs, and blogpreneurs. Some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, National Book Blogging Month, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. As a hybrid author she has published 19 books and had as many as four books on the Amazon Top 100 list at the same time. Her most recent book is called Creative Visualization for Writers, and tomorrow her 19th book will be released, The Write Nonfiction NOW! Guide to Creativity and Flow. Find all her books at booksbyninaamir.com or find out more about her at ninaamir.com.

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Name: Nina Amir
Title: Inspiration to Creation Coach
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