Adjustability – the secret to overcoming frustration.
Once again drawing on sports psychology, this is a major concept that any sports person, and particularly riders like me, have to grasp, accept and enact.
We all suffer setbacks. For athletes, it’s often injury (it certainly is with horses!), or it may be fitness or skill development issues – anything that means we are not going to achieve the goals we set ourselves (you do set goals, don’t you?).
Being able to accept that there are some things in life you can’t change is hugely important to being able to repurpose and move ahead, albeit by adjusting your immediate goals. If you can’t do this, you will likely give up as a result of frustration, or inability to see a way forward.
Do you see where this might also apply to writers?
Life has a tendency to get in the way of our plans – for the writer this might be:
- Technical problems (computer/internet etc.)
- Family issues, particularly if you have children!
- If you are traditionally published, then publishers and editors may throw you a curve ball – the speed with which the industry changes is breathtaking.
- Writer’s block
- And so on
On a broad scale, people can be divided into two personality types:
- Planners – you always have every alternative path planned ahead of time ‘just in case’…
- Those who live ‘in the moment’, who have no alternative plans.
Now, it isn’t essential to have an alternative plan for every conceivable hitch that might throw itself in your path (to submission, to publication, to simply finishing a piece of work, or getting reviews and sales), but to help you avoid the potentially crippling frustration of such issues, you should strive to embrace adjustability.
In other words, when something goes wrong, be it a plot problem (you’ve written yourself into a cul de sac) or a deadline you can’t meet, etc., be willing to make alternative plans.
Don’t see it as a failure – see it as a new opportunity.
Often, you will find that a new plan, or a new path, may prove even better than the one you were following before.
- New opportunities may arise
- New timings might create fortuitous new connections
- New, possibly better ideas might enter your head
- New avenues may open up
The list of possibilities is endless, provided you are willing to accept the inevitability of needing to rethink, regroup, and make a new plan.
You may still retain your final goal, but you might need a different short term goal (or indeed, goals) as a new route to get there.
Indeed, you might need a new ultimate goal, but the secret to dealing with the frustration of the derailment of your carefully laid plans, is to never let yourself be defeated – there will always be another path to follow, another answer, you just might not have discovered it yet!
So, to reiterate,
If you found this post of interest or help, you can find similar articles under the ‘Writing psychology’ tab at the side of this page.
So how good are you at re-purposing? Do share…