We all tread this writing journey with a certain amount of trepidation. Even the most successful authors have concerns. Will my novel be good enough? Is the story strong? Will I get good reviews? Have I written my best? Is there another novel inside me?
It is human nature to agonize over these worries but with support from family, friends and a writing group you can lessen them.
What makes you most anxious in your writing life?
Unfortunately stress has a detrimental effect on the creative process so we must try to elevate it. There are a few simple methods to help us. Firstly, walk away from the project and find somewhere quiet to take some deep breaths. When our body is stressed it tends to hyper-ventilate with short low breaths. Breath slowly and deeply. If possible take a day away from the project – obviously this isn’t always possible – but try to take at least an hour. Time away enjoying something else refreshes the brain. If the thought of leaving the project adds to your stress, take notes of how you want to proceed. They will help get you back into the mindset and you have a reference to guide you. Focus on each step instead of overwhelming yourself with the ‘whole’ project. Give yourself a reasonable time frame. If it helps map out each step from start to finish – you have set goals per day, week or month – but ensure you have factored in extra time for each one. That way if a step takes longer than anticipated you still have a buffer of time to complete it.
I found this link which may help – http://www.wikihow.com/Relieve-Stress
As writers we frequently become overwhelmed with expections, some are self imposed, while others are derived from external sources. We are told we need to have a social media presence, ensure our manuscripts are edited, revised and polished, submit to magazines, publishers, clients, promote our books…the list goes on and on! However, these are only the tip of the iceberg, as many of us also have full time jobs and a family life to squeeze into our daily 24 hours.
Presently, my ‘work load’ looks something like this: I am helping organize a writers conference, volunteering for my writers foundation as secretary at events, deciding on illustrations for my children’s chapter book, revising my cowgirl romance, working full time, spending time with family, household chores, being taxi for kid, promoting my books, advertising for a writing retreat, maintaining my social media presence, and transcribing my Mother’s journal. I’m sure I have forgotten some things but you get the picture.
How do I cope? Admittedly, I do ‘drop the ball’ sometimes but I try not to beat myself up about it. I realized a while ago that whatever ‘moment’ you are involved in is the one you should be experiencing. It may not be on your schedule but rules are made to be broken after all. I have a weekly schedule but it is flexible. Why not accept an invitation for dinner or a movie? After all there may be inspiration in those experiences, you would miss otherwise. My mantra is New Opportunities – grab them when they present themselves with both hands.
For instance, we are dog sitting at the moment so I did not have time for my morning ritual of reading through my emails. Instead, I enjoyed an early morning walk under the bright glow of a full moon. It was spectacular and if I had kept to my schedule I would have missed it entirely. So let the unexpected intrusions come and enjoy them.
My week is full time work during the day, with writing related meetings every Tuesday evening, aquasize every Wednesday, assisting at my publishers every Thursday, but these are open to change. Such as an author reading to a Brownie troop last Wednesday evening. The evening was extremely enjoyable and the questions raised were insightful and fun. I gained new perspectives on my narratives and the Brownies learnt how books are published and writers come up with their ideas. As always there will always be someone busier than you!
None of us can ‘do it all’ – enjoy what you can do – that is more than enough.