Before You Give Up…

Tenacity is the drive to stick with something problematic or disappointing. Some of us have it. Some of us don’t. I’d like to hear from those of you who think you have it. Is it just inborn, or are there tools one can use to increase it?

Suppose you get an idea for a story. In a flash, it comes to you. You’re elated. It repeats in your head over and over. The simplicity of it is part of its charm. It will interest others. It is sure to make them laugh. Take the rest of the night off to celebrate.

You always make the mistake of writing it down. It’s lost some luster and begins to feel foreign and stale. It starts to get complicated, heavy, dull. Your mood tanks. It would appear that the idea has changed for the worse. Are you missing something? If you lack tenacity, maybe you’ll just give up now. If you have tenacity, you’ll sit there and write and re-write and try to tease out and develop the treasure you saw initially.

Before returning to the drawing board for a “fresher” idea, be sure you realize that the idea hasn’t changed. Everything else has. Think of your idea as the only constant. Your changing feelings are external to the idea. You have changed, not the idea. You’re wiser now, and you can see that the idea isn’t as perfect as you once thought. It takes tenacity to comprehend that perfection is unobtainable.

Mistaking weakness in an aspect of the idea for the idea being weak itself leads to confusion, frustration, loss of interest, loss of confidence. Use these personal feelings to enrich the creative process, not to distract from it. Feelings are your allies. Don’t give up. In scrutinizing an idea, exposing a weakness in it can lead to the awareness of other avenues to explore.  Think laterally about it. Coming up with personal concepts around or tangential to your idea will help your idea become more solid. Good lateral ideas put your idea in good company.

Reassure yourself that you are good at this. And though you had much to compare it to, at that moment you honestly thought it was a great idea. And honesty is a good thing. Now turn off all distractions, including self-doubt, and get moving. You have a lot to do today.

How do you overcome your disappointment, your frustration, when your idea, a part of you, seems to have become foreign and far from your grasp? What motivates you to stick with developing your idea?