What to Do When Writing Is Making You Frustrated

There is, in reality, only one way to ease the frustration that often comes along with writing.


For the sake of professionalism, there are a lot of things going on in my writing life that I can’t really talk about publicly (at least not right now). Not necessarily good things, either. That frustrates me just as much, if not more than, the things going on themselves.

It frustrates me because it means I have less energy to help you, which I am trying so, so hard to keep a priority no matter how wacky things get. It frustrates me because I know I am spending many, many hours writing things I do not want to be writing. Because as much as I understand that this is necessary when you have only been writing professionally for a very short amount of time, it is not fun. I spent four years of college miserable and it is very hard to be back in that state of mind again.

Yet I keep writing. It is 11:30 at night and I am still writing, even though I started at 11:00 this morning. Why? Because writing is what I do.

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There is, in reality, only one way to ease the frustration that often comes along with writing, whatever your reason for feeling frustrated might be.

Stop writing. For a very short time, anyway.

Yes, I said stop. Hands off your keyboard. Stand up. Walk away from your computer. Do something else for a certain amount of time. Come back. Try again – either something else, or going back to what you were trying to write before.

When you are frustrated because words are not coming out of your brain the way you want them to, walk away.

When you are frustrated because you don’t want to write about that thing your client is asking you to write about, walk away.

When you are frustrated because it’s the only emotion you can currently feel – because you are exhausted, because you keep forgetting to give yourself breaks, because sometimes hard work means putting off fun for a little while longer and that sucks but it will be worth it soon – walk away.

Walk away, and then come back and try again.

Give your brain a rest. Take some deep breaths. Count all the reasons why writing anyway, even when you just want to quit, is going to be the best decision you have ever made.

Then, as always, get back to writing.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-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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