Working through Adversity

It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. At some point, you are going to be writing for someone who doesn’t seem to want you there. They are prickly, adversarial, and constantly questioning your work. You wonder why they even hired you in the first place. But working through adversity can sometimes lead to your best results.

Let’s deal with the employer first. There are a thousand reasons, beyond the fact that they are a jerk, as to why they are treating you poorly. Sometimes you just have to establish boundaries. Or you might be working on a passion project, where your client has a very specific vision. In these cases, clear communication delivered with a minimum of emotion is best. Take ownership and ask for feedback. Make it clear that you are doing your best but need more information.

If it has nothing to do with boundaries or a specific vision, then it might just be a personality conflict. These can be a little trickier to navigate. Remember, you are not the hero and they are not the villain. Your client did not wake up trying to make your life miserable, so be careful not to take anything personally. Personality conflicts can be awkward, but with an equal measure of civility on both sides, and a little bit of trust, they are absolutely workable. Your client doesn’t need to like you in order to like what you write.

Working through adversity is a true test of any writer, or any professional, really. You cannot be best friends with everyone you work with. And while it’s a lot easier to work with people you like there’s no reason to but limitations on yourself in an already crowded market. Especially when the project is interesting, all of the people that you are working with do not have to be.

Maintain civility, do your best work, and enjoy the adversity. You never know, sometimes the best partnerships are formed that way.

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