Ok, so avoiding frustration by focusing on something else doesn't work so well - why? Because I follow a PATTERN. And the patter is, checking into Scrivener after all the procrastination to see if the program has magically filled in for me and scribbled down something really exciting on it's own that will make me want to immediately start.
And now I'm REALLY upset. Another day wasted. Nothing achieved. Everything is going down the train. My story sucks. I suck.
Alas, discovering what those damning patterns are and following your reoccurring emotional reactions and working with them to help you stay focused is the key to reducing your frustrations. I write about working happy, but I had fooled myself into believing that I was enjoying the writing process, when in reality I was frustrated 75% of the time. I pushed through these feelings because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. It wasn’t until I began to notice these patterns that I used them to my advantage.
Let’s say I’m working on my book and the words aren’t coming out right. Instead of banging my big head against this project, I try to switch gears and write a blog post about dealing with this frustration (like this post) or a letter about how my sunflowers grow this year (not sure my cousin is really interested but he's gotta live with that). These enjoyable topics keep my brain writing, but with no expectations for trying to make a clear message. I'm sure the positive emotions will start to come back and I’ll give my book another try.
That way I don't feel like I'm just losing time. I'm doing SOMETHING instead. Yep, I still have bangs of frustration and guilt - and panic that this will never get finished and I'll be old, gray and too fragile to enjoy the benefits from when this at last will find an audience (it will, right?! New panic...)
That’s why I can write when it feels like trudging through mud. I’ve watched my habits surface over and over. That doesn't mean I can successfully fight them, by noticing these feelings when they first occur I can TRY to direct my emotions in a more positive direction. There are almost always some positive thoughts that need to get out even if it doesn’t help me further my book.
If nothing seems to be working, which usually happens at least 1 day out of 7, or more likely once a day right now, I just throw in the white towel and go for a walk. Which has done a lot for my condition actually. Or I cuddle my cat, water plants or treat myself to a nice coffee and cake break with a puzzle. I no longer get only mad that the words won’t come out, because I know that tomorrow will most likely bring that little bit of magic that today just didn’t want to release.
Or the day after.
Or at least next week.
Hopefully next week.