Rx for Down Days

Down days.

We all have them.

Perhaps you didn’t final in a contest or you received a pass from an agent or editor. Maybe even both in one fell swoop.

Unlike down times, which can last for weeks or months, down days only set us back a short time. We take an emotional hit, but, being the resilient, tougher-than-we-look writers we are, we bounce back fairly quickly.

However, we can still feel pretty crummy when the blow comes.

When my agent sent the story that became my debut novel out on submission, the first three passes came a week apart. Then two came at once. Ouch!

Knowing rejections were inevitable, I’d done my best to brace myself for them. Even so, I didn’t fare as well each time as I’d hoped. When I received news of the third pass in a row, I developed a mild case of Dashed Dreams Disorder.

Possible Symptoms of Dashed Dreams Disorder:

(Note: An affected person may experience some or all of the symptoms. Some symptoms may occur simultaneously. Fluctuation between symptoms is common.)

mild to moderate sensitivity
watery eyes
tightness in the chest
muscle tension
rapid breathing
inability to concentrate
preoccupation with stimulus

A Rx for Dashed Dreams Disorder

(Note: Affected persons are advised to skip steps that aren’t helpful. Repeating steps which are helpful is permissible and even encouraged.)

1. Accept the disorder as a normal reaction to the stimulus.
2. Avoid continued exposure to the stimulus.
3. Refrain from public contact until the worst of the symptoms have passed.
4. Seek the assistance of supportive family members or close friends.
5. Allow for natural drainage of tear ducts.
6. Get plenty of rest.
7. Eat well-balanced meals, remembering that chocolate has known curative powers.
8. Indulge in hot baths with aromatic salts or other soaking aids.
9. Don’t make any major decisions until symptoms have passed.

While there is an element of humor to the above lists, the information is sound. Accepting the facts that we will experience disappointment (which can manifest itself in various ways) and that our varied reactions to it are normal, is healthy. Taking care of ourselves and not making rash decisions is important. In time, the symptoms will pass and we’ll be ready to return to our stories with clear heads and restored determination.


What would you add to the lists above?

What reactions to disappointing news have you experienced?

How have you administered self-care during a case of Dashed Dreams Disorder?

Novelist Keli Gwyn is a California native who lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills. Her stories transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. She enjoys visiting her fictional worlds, the Coach outlet store, and Taco Bell.

Keli’s debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, will be released by Barbour Publishing in July. She’s a member of the El Dorado Hills Inspire group.

Learn more about Keli by visiting her blog. You can connect with her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.