Monday, February 4, 2013

Helping a friend who is stuck

What do you do when a colleague, friend, or mentee falls off their writing wagon? Pushing might feel unkind, uneasy, but should we always take the easy path with those we care about? How much tension should we be willing to cause to help someone get back to writing?

When we are stuck, we come up with a thousand reasons why we are stuck, and do whatever we can to avoid confronting it. When people remind us of how stuck we are, we can easily turn on them, be defensive, or avoid emails or calls.

I would love to hear from some of you the strategies you have developed. I still struggle with how much to push, and when to back off and give someone their space. After all, adults have freewill, and we should do what they wish, correct? If someone wants to be left alone, should we?

Still, the stakes are often high, and we are in community with each other. Sometimes, caring for people means being willing to piss them off, and risk being abandoned by them.

1 comment:

  1. I have an agreement with a senior colleague who is not my formal mentor to please nag me as much or as often as needed. Yes, it sucks to hear "when is that paper on X going to be submitted" but I've desperately needed those redirections several times this past year. Prior to his nagging I was lucky to submit 1-2 manuscripts and since his nagging I've submitted 6 in the past year. Not having data wasn't my problem - not publishing completed studies was definitely a problem. The feedback was always at the best level of firm and kind. Not taking many excuses or at least re-framing them in terms of what can I do now. Don't stop bugging us!