Braving Storms: Deborah Glenn on Complaining Less

Now that we’re all defrosting from the 2014 Arctic Vortex, it struck us as fitting to give April the theme of “Braving Storms.” Here are some great stories from people weathering the worst that life can rain down at the worst moments–and how they lived to see the sun come out again.


We all know by now (I hope) that engineers are not universally soft-spoken, introverted types. But in my first career I encountered quite a few of them who were. And often it was the ones who said less—but chose their words carefully and focused on solutions, not problems—who made the most impact.

STOP_F When a painting/ play/ article/ sculpture/ whatever feels like an uphill battle, there’s something to be said for keeping gripes about it to a minimum and just getting on with the work. Granted, there are many benefits of being part of a community who understands the challenges of your work, and talk therapy or hash sessions with your besties can be helpful. But these supports can also become a proxy for making progress. Plus nattering on endlessly about a project’s challenges, or how hard it is to be in a creative field these days, has a way of (a) making you a huge bore and (b) feeding the very beast you’re trying to quash. A hint: If you’re spending less time on your work than you are complaining about your work to your spouse, therapist, writers’ group, or Facebook pals, it’s time to take a hard look at your choices.

On the other hand, natterers who are able to channel discomfort, criticism, or bile into their work can be an absolute pleasure.
unnamedA recent transplant from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Deborah Snoonian Glenn is a former senior editor of This Old House and Architectural Record and was the executive editor of the eco-lifestyle magazine Plenty. Her freelance writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Dwell and other publications, and she’s made dozens of guest appearances on The Today Show and other national programs.

Posted in Braving Storms, Good Ideas, Inspiration, Writing, Writing Education and tagged , , , .

Leave a Reply