Take Caution When Writing While Frustrated

Maybe don’t send that email …

Writing while frustrated.

We all do it. I do it way too often; sometimes I regret it. You probably have, too.

Venting is totally normal, especially for writers. We’re lucky to have an outlet to give voice and purpose to our raw, often difficult to process emotions.

Just because we’re lucky doesn’t mean we always make wise decisions, though. You know you’ve sent at least one text or posted one thing on social media you regretted immediately.

Writing something when you’re frustrated is helpful in a number of ways. It helps you get outside of your head and look more logically at your own thoughts. It (usually) erases the impulse to drive over to someone’s house and start yelling. It prevents you from bottling up your feelings without verbally lashing out at people or situations you really shouldn’t.

But it can be dangerous, too. Especially if you frequently don’t shy away from posting or sending what you’ve just written, regardless of how … uh … raw it might be.

The problem is, when you write to vent your frustrations and then immediately hit publish — whether that’s in a Facebook post or on your blog, in a professional email or text to a friend — you’re sending something off that’s missing a few valuable components all pieces of writing should have.

It’s not well thought-out or organized. It’s so emotionally driven that logic comes second. You tend to make assumptions without doing your research, you phrase things awkwardly — you end up not saying what you mean, which isn’t good in any context. Or you write things in such a way that makes it easier for a reader to infer something you didn’t intend to imply.

I know I start to get lazy when I’m frustrated. I start repeating ideas and using words I normally wouldn’t. I don’t like that — especially when the whole point of writing something is to present an argument, as one often does when they’re upset or aggravated. “I’m telling you why I am annoyed because I want it to change.” It’s impossible to argue effectively when you throw all your emotions into it and forget to take the time to think about whether or not it even makes sense — or should be shared.

Never post or send a piece of writing born out of frustration — unless you’ve given yourself plenty of time between the draft and sending it to walk away, come back, and clearly evaluate whether or not to introduce it to the intended party. Some of my best ideas have come out of things I was frustrated with — but definitely not my best writing. Learn to give these things time to sit in your head for awhile before writing them down. Frustration means you’re passionate enough about something to want it to change — and if you’re writing to persuade, do so with a clear head and a very clear purpose.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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