by Lora Doncea
Frustration seems like an inevitable part of life, doesn’t it? I used to think so. Eventually I learned I could eliminate most of my frustration and stay peaceful.
As editors and proofreaders, we are required to be extremely precise in our work. However, our biggest strength can also be our biggest weakness if we stay in our perfection persona and expect others to rise to our personal standards. Having unrealistic expectations will lead to frustration.
Here are some things I do to short-circuit frustration. Hopefully they will help you, too!
I prepare for the worst.
When starting a new project, going to meetings, driving the freeways, making phone calls to resolve problems, dealing with computer issues, etc., I accept that I am entering unpredictable territory where I am out of control. I prepare myself to have a good attitude even if I deal with incompetent or rude people, experience long wait times, go through problems that might take weeks to resolve, etc. That way I can proceed patiently no matter what comes up. Of course, when things go smoothly, it’s a delightful surprise. Either way, I eliminate frustration.
I only require perfectionism of myself.
In our field, we are required to follow every editing rule according to strict industry standards. It can be frustrating when people insist on keeping incorrect writing when they’ve hired us as experts to fix their errors. To eliminate my frustration, I do a professional job on every project. If the writer rejects my changes, I don’t take it personally or try to prove I’m correct. I don’t want my name as editor to be on something filled with errors, but it’s out of my hands. By only requiring perfection of myself, it is easier to work with people, and I can maintain a good attitude no matter how they respond.
I pray for supernatural intervention.
We all have stressful areas of life that we are stuck in, and frustration can build to volcanic proportions. In my life, persistently trying to change things failed. Praying fervently didn’t seem to help, either. I eventually realized I was telling God that He should fix things my way. Finally, I humbled myself and told God that I would endure trials that I couldn’t change, and I only prayed for strength and wisdom. When I gave God full control, He astounded me by intervening in incredible ways.
Do I still have frustrations? Yes, but they don’t control me. I take them all to God. I may deal with hardship, pain, and problems, but now I maintain a good attitude. People see Jesus in me, and I’m able to support and encourage others. My frustrations have greatly dissipated, and I am at peace. If you are struggling with frustration, prepare yourself to patiently deal with challenging people and situations, ask God to show you areas in your life that you can adjust, and ask for His help when you are helpless to change things. You will soon discover how peaceful and enjoyable life can be!
Lora thoroughly enjoys editing fiction and nonfiction books for Christian authors. She views editing as a ministry, partnering with authors to make their writing polished and successful. She also writes a blog of “Savvy Writer Tips” to help writers spot and fix common problems. Read them on her website: EditsbyLora.com or on Facebook: SavvyWriterTips. Lora’s varied life experiences help her when editing. She’s been a recorded Christian musician, a computer and web programmer, a college teacher, and a Bible study leader. She spent years oil painting and loves photography. She recently exchanged life in the big city for a cabin in the mountains where she savors gorgeous scenery, diverse wildlife, and peaceful times with family and friends.