Frustration Fights Creativity
There isn't a writer alive who hasn't thrown their hands up at one time or another and screamed under their breath. Especially when you are working with a mentor - or in our case - mentors.
Sometimes information comes at us so quickly that we can't take it all in at once. In our minds, the story we've penned makes perfect sense. How can my mentor keep asking me questions - no rapid-fire questions, one after the other?
Take a deep breath and relax. Mentoring can become frustrating and it happens because of two things.
- You are learning a massive amount of information at once
- You struggle with the thoughts that you imagined your work was not so messed up. Well, take heart, your work isn't messed up. You are learning. That's why you hired a mentor(s).
When you feel overwhelmed frustration will happen. Here are some tips to help you sort through the frustration:
- Step away for a few hours - Clear your mind. A lot of changes and suggestions can look never-ending. It doesn't mean your work is bad, it means you need to tweak some of the basics to pull things together. So, step away for a day and let your mind rest. Absorb what you've been handed, then come back with fresh eyes and a better outlook.
- Learn to filter information - When you receive large chunks of information many times your critiquer is "dumping". This simply means there are tons of things that can be chosen to work with. It doesn't mean you accept every suggestion. You know what you are writing and a mentor or critiquer can only voice items they can see that are either problems or possibilities. Learn to filter through what you can use. It's not a bad thing. Pick and choose the items of information you use and then use them. Once you've included them, then go back to your mentor and let them help you smooth out the work. FILTERING is important.
- Don't let your self-talk become negative - Just because you are making corrections or tweaking
and rewriting does not mean your work is bad. Remember, there are always better ways to write something. Allow your self-talk to reinforce your efforts and become encouragement. Stop those thoughts that say, "I must be a lousy writer." Change it to, I'm becoming a better writer.
- Talk with your mentor - Share that you are feeling overwhelmed and work out a plan to break suggestions down into smaller bites. Your mentor is there to help you, not to frustrate you, but only you can draw the line in the sand and wave the white flag. Communication is vital and if you are not expressing to your mentor that you are feeling overwhelmed, then you are wasting your time and money. Part of a mentor's job is to walk you through these times and break them down into smaller portions so that you can successfully write.
- Keep at it - but work in smaller portions. Rather than busting out 4000 words in a day. Take a step back, and write half that so you can re-read and re-work without feeling as though you can't get through.
- Don't rush your project for unrealistic deadlines - be practical. Consider your work schedule, family time, and writing time. Balance them and set writing deadlines that are realistic and that don't send you into panic if you can't meet them. Set an achievable goal and then stick to it. Even well-versed writers have to set realistic goals that work into their daily lives. Be kind to yourself and work consistently and on deadlines you can achieve.