Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at and explore her website at, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is

The Well Writer

The Resilient Writer

I’m a full-time counselor for nursing students. I’ve been a practicing social worker for thirty-two years, and I’ve seen many people who struggle with the difficulties and unfairness of life. I bet most of you reading this article have endured and overcome trials in your lifetime. Some of you have a higher level of resiliency than others. One way to judge your resilience is to explore a situation after you’ve come through it. What did you do to keep going when situations threw rocks at you?

My first thoughts on what resilience means is the power to bounce back. When we get knocked down by a life event or an unexpected occurrence, how long does it take us to bounce back? What does that look like?

The ability to cope with loss and difficult life experiences is one of the things that make us stronger. After my parents divorced when I was six, my new life on the farm with extended family had its challenges. I found solace in the animals and being outside a lot. I learned to ride and show horses and developed the discipline that it takes to accomplish these things. I learned resilience. defines resilience as “the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity; ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.”

Writing can be learned just as resilience can be learned. Keep this in mind as you begin or continue the journey of your writing career. If you’ve been writing and submitting your work for a while, you know how easy it is to succumb to the doubt that rejection, negative feedback, and poorly delivered critiques can cause. But if we are going to last for a long time and continue on this road in the publishing world, whether it be through traditional routes or self-publishing, then we must become resilient. We have to learn how to bounce back when we get knocked down.

Let’s explore some ways to become a resilient writer.

• Identify Your Strengths “Even though [insert difficult event] happened, I was still able to . . .” This is an important indicator of what you’ve done when the going got tough. It’s a sign of resilience. For instance, “Even though I had cancer, I was still able to take care of my family.” “Even though the editor rejected my manuscript, I didn’t give up writing and submitting more manuscripts.

• Keep Hope Alive I wrote a blog titled “Change Your Thoughts." One way to stay positive and keep your dreams moving ahead is to have something to look forward to. It can be as simple as a date for lunch with a friend or something bigger, like attending this year’s American Christian Fiction Writers Conference.

• Develop a Fitness Plan
Balance your writing time with exercise time. We writers are not good at scheduling enough time to take care of ourselves. Choose your favorite form of exercise and commit to it.

Spend time with God in prayer and talk to Him about what you want to do and what He wants you to do. Ask wise mentors for guidance if you’re not sure. Sometimes it’s a matter of being still and waiting.

Journal your way to resilience. Whenever you go through a difficult experience, write about it. And I don’t mean blog about it right away, which could put you in too much of a vulnerable position. Work through your emotions on paper; write a letter that you don’t intend to mail. I’d recommend you do this for a month and then reevaluate. Then if you still want to share this on a blog, choose your words wisely. You may even want to use the emotion from your experience for scenes in the book you’re writing.

• Seek Counseling
Don’t let pride stand in the way of getting help. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to talk out our problems with a mental health care professional. It’s healthy to get a perspective from someone who is not a family member or friend. Ask your doctor or another professional you trust who they would go to for help. Do not count on the Internet or the yellow pages. I work in a multiple college area, and counseling resources can be located by calling the counseling centers of nearby colleges as well. Just make certain that the person you plan to see is reputable.

Alive days are days when you narrowly escape death. You may have come close to dying in a car accident, suffered a serious illness, or come close to death by other means. The information on the above link is very intense. You may not be able to watch it. The reason I include it here is that the HBO documentary clearly demonstrates the resilience of men and women coming home from war. It will give you some idea of how soldiers survive and deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. They demonstrate resilience.

As writer’s we are not in the physical danger that our men and women in combat are. But we face a different kind of war. We can choose to develop the ability to be resilient, or we can ignore it at our peril.

If you are easily overwhelmed and think you cannot deal with difficult situations or problems, you can do many things to help you. I hope that some of the ideas mentioned here will be helpful to you on your journey of becoming a more resilient writer.

These resources may further help you develop resilience as a writer and a member of planet earth.
Rachelle Gardner's Blog
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