I messed up.
I remember those were the only three words that ran a continuous loop through my consciousness. It was true, and the truth hurt.
Looking back years later, I can see now that it wasn’t for lack of trying that I fell flat on my face and struggled to rise. Actually, it was letting myself go crashing down that saved me.
You’ve likely heard it said time and again that you have to fall down to learn how to get back up again. I call that resilience. Refusing to give up even when you’d prefer to do just that.
Recently, my routine broke. I stopped working out, journaling, meditating. I nearly found myself in a quarter-life crisis, unexpectedly questioning everything I’d been so sure of just weeks before. I thought I hated going to work. I thought I’d fallen out of love with blogging. I kept staring blankly at my list of goals for the year, convinced I no longer cared about any of them.
The quality of my work at my job plummeted. Everything went wrong.
And that’s the only way I knew it was time to snap out of it, to get over it, to keep doing what I had to do because that’s what it meant to be a writer, gosh darn it.
You have to hit low points to remember why you bother to stay near the top.
It’s normal to get frustrated, to get tired, to feel like you don’t want to do the things you normally do for a day. It happens to everyone. The difference between writers who make it and those who don’t is that the ones who make it pick themselves back up and keep writing until they remember why they’ve never actually been able to stop.
The biggest mistake I ever made was thinking I couldn’t write because I didn’t deserve to have that outlet. I stopped writing for a long time. But coming back to it after so long made me appreciate it in a way I’m not sure I ever had before.
Successful writers come back.
They keep trying.
When what they’re doing or the way they’re doing it isn’t working, they redirect. They try something else. They don’t just lay down and shut off. Not for long, anyway.
Sometimes, you have to let things fall apart. The more you have to build yourself back up again, the stronger you’ll become.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.