Years ago, when I first thought out I was cut out for the writer’s life, I was reading articles on how to get more writing done and get published quicker. At the time, I was driven to just produce, produce, produce.
I think that was one of the reasons I got so burnt out so quickly was because I was so results oriented. No wonder those words stuck with me: “Plan to do just three main actions a day.” With each action, I got so hung up by results (i.e. why things weren’t moving fast enough) that I just couldn’t find a way to slow down.
So many things can interfere with a writer’s ability to be productive and patient: finding jobs, getting your name out there, learning and honing new skills, invoicing clients, revising, and the list goes on.
Obviously, finding peace “in the storm” can be rather difficult and somewhat tedious. So how DO you stay tenacious yet motivated to the craft when things aren’t exactly going your way?
Here’s 3 lessons I’ve garnered from my experience on how you as a writer, can become more patient, productive and peaceful.
1. Loosen up from outcomes by focusing on becoming a better writer. Who doesn’t get stuck with outcomes? It’s part of the way human psychology works: we want to get rewarded for our efforts. We want a payback. Instead of saying, “I’m such a bad writer because I didn’t produce xx amount of pages,” ask yourself, “what writing skill can I learn today?” or “what part of that sales letter do I need to revise based on the client’s latest feedback?”
2. Open yourself to teachable moments. This past week, I had a break-out moment with a client. The revisions were so nit-picky after the third round, that I just wanted to cut my loses and move on. I explained my positioning gently in an email. As writers, we learn from our “students,” or clients and their feedback.
Don’t be so quick to shut the door on a client because you don’t agree with his/her way of thinking. Give him a chance, learn from the experience. Chances are, this experience will lead to other opportunities.
3. Give yourself time to learn new things. Writers need time to learn new skills and ways of doing things. All this takes time. Overnight successes are not born; they develop over time. The key is to be persistent with your plan. Keep learning and growing, and over time, you’ll see a difference.
I’ll probably need to read this blog post a few times over and over each time I get wrapped up in a moment. What has helped you deal with difficult situations? I’d love to know!