Building a Sustainable Writing Career: Increase Your Hardiness

In my last article I discussed the value of hardiness. Hardiness is the ability to handle problems in constructive ways. It is the key to success as a writer. Here are a few ways in which you can increase your hardiness.

Eliminate (At Least Reduce) Poor Coping Habits

People indulge in bad habits when they are stressed. They smoke. They drink alcohol. They eat too much or too little. They take drugs. None of these coping mechanisms are healthy. When you find yourself indulging in these bad habits, stop. Focus on the positive actions you could be taking to fix the problem.

Take Care of Your Health

Ignoring your health, even when you have a major problem to deal with, is never a good idea. Your body is part of your toolset for dealing with problems. Exercise, get the proper amount of sleep, eat healthy food, take the time to relax and release stress in healthy ways like exercise, meditation or an enjoyable hobby.

Focus on Solutions Rather then Emotions

It is important to acknowledge how you feel about a situation, but dwelling on your emotions does not solve problems. Avoid negative self-talk. You need to find positive, logical steps that you can take to solve whatever problems you are facing. While you shouldn’t just take the first action that comes to mind, don’t dwell on your problems without taking some sort of action. The sooner you start taking steps to repair the situation, the better you will feel.

Use the Resources You Have

We seldom have every resource we would like to have. While it would be nice to have an unlimited amount of time, people, money, information, and equipment, most people have to make due with something less than the ideal. In many cases though, people fail to use the resources they do have, or they don’t use them wisely. When you are faced with a major problem, take stock of your resources and think about ways you can creatively use what you have. Sometimes it is as simple as asking the right person for a favor.

Communicate Assertively

Don’t avoid problems or people. A hardy person confronts the issues they have as directly and firmly as possible. You don’t have to be a jerk, but don’t turn yourself into a victim either. Say what is on your mind. Say it constructively, but get it off your chest. In many cases, all that is needed is an honest conversation. Half of the problems people have with each other are due to poor communication and misperception.

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