Braving Storms: Deborah Glenn on Reframing the Problem

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.


Here’s why good public relations pros are highly paid: They are masters at weaving facts and information into credible and often positive stories, even when the facts involved are mundane, contradictory, or even unpleasant.

ist2_4933103-antique-gold-picture-frame-squareTake a page from their book and use the challenge you’re facing as an opportunity to view your work in a different light. In other words, tell yourself a different story. Is Act 2 of your latest play not feeling right? Maybe this play is a one-act show or a short story instead. Not liking how your last few oil paintings turned out? Time to experiment with acrylics or watercolor. Workarounds and reframing the problem often lead to breakthroughs.

Lately, when I’m struggling with a rewrite, I write poems. Usually by hand, usually on scrap paper. I haven’t tried to get them published (unless Facebook counts) and may never do so. But reframing a tough rewrite as a signal to take a break and tinker with a new poem has proven incredibly fruitful. Not just because I’m exploring a new type of writing, but also because the original rewrite goes much more smoothly because I’ve redefined the situation.
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, Organizing Ideas, Writing, Writing Education and tagged , , .

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