This year I’m blogging my book De-Stress Your Writing Life. You can read it for free on Creativity’s Workshop every Friday.
The life of a writer is often portrayed as a constant stream of writer’s block, endless edits, looming deadlines, crushing criticism and inevitable rejection. Blood, sweat and tears seem like a rite of passage to publication – if you make publication at all.
Pretty bleak, huh?
In fact, you’re probably now quietly hyperventilating and telling yourself it can’t possibly be worth it.
If that’s the way you’re feeling, then this book is for you.
Contrary to popular opinion, a writer does not need to be a martyr to their craft. Most writers do their best work sitting in a comfortable chair at a nice desk feeling secure and confident in themselves and their work.
By taking the stress out of your writing life, you can easily increase the quality and quantity of your work.
Where Does Writing Stress Come From?
Imagine this scene.
You’re typing away at your computer when an armed attacker bursts through the door. Screaming abuse at you, they lunge forward to strike. With one hand still valiantly typing, you defend yourself as best you can with your free limbs and anything else within reach.
How much writing will you get done under those conditions?
If you manage anything at all, certainly won’t be your best work.
Is this all sounding a bit far-fetched?
You’d be surprised how many writers work under these circumstances. Every day they sit down to write, only to find they spend most of their time and energy fending off their:
- Inner Critic
- Fears, and
- Other stress-inducing circumstances.
Passion and focus are essential to doing your best creative work, but these can often be crowded out by the crippling stress of ‘internal attackers.’
What if, instead of works falling to the page like blood from your brow, you could find a way for words to bubble onto the page in an unstoppable flow?
That’s the feeling we want to capture and replicate. We want you to feel compelled to sit down and write by replacing those attackers with helpful thoughts and voices to keep you relaxed and productive.
Is this possible?
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. — Isaac Asimov
By removing causes of guilt and stress in your writing life, you’ll be able to write with more energy and enjoyment leading to better quality work.
How This Book Works
We all face stress in our everyday lives. The trick to dealing with stress in any situation is to:
- Reduce unnecessary stress, and
- Manage necessary stress.
The purpose of this book is to help you take the stress out of writing. We want you to feel proud to identify yourself as a writer and relaxed when you face the page.
This book is divided up into three sections, each covering an important part of your writing life.
- Mindset – Firstly, we will focus on how you think about yourself as a writer and your writing. We’ll work on replacing the voice of your Inner Critic with a more creative, supportive voice. We’ll also look at addressing your fears and other elements that cause stress.
- Practice – Next we’ll look at the creative routines and rhythms you can set up in your writing life to keep yourself inspired and focused.
- Follow-Through – Finally we’ll look at what you do after you’ve completed a writing project, to make sure you remain positive and motivated to send your work out into the world and begin a new project.
Each writer is unique and each writing project is different. Throughout this book we will be encouraging you to personalise the suggestions – to find what works best for you. We’ll provide worksheets and other spaces for you to record your own thoughts and plans.
Let’s get started!
What kind of stresses do you face in your writing life? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Like most writers, I have to be frugal with my funds. So if you’ve enjoyed today’s post and would like to read more, I’d be grateful if you could leave a little in the kitty to help keep things afloat. Everyone who donates will receive a free electronic copy of the book once it has reached completion. Thank you for dropping by.
February 1, 2014 at 7:51 am
I tend to put myself under too much pressure, and demand too many words too fast. My parents and cat are other stresses, but they’re external and I have to tolerate them because I’m freeloading at the moment.
February 1, 2014 at 8:04 am
This is a very interesting point, Alexandra, and I’m sure you’re not the only writer to feel it. Sometimes we work so hard to meet a word count that we lose the fun in what we’re doing and miss opportunities to stop and consider what we’re writing. I’ll consider more about this subject in an upcoming post, so stay tuned and thank you so much for sharing!
Living with parents can add extra stress to your life (speaking for personal experience here). Are you able to write at your local library or a café to help avoid these stressors?
February 1, 2014 at 8:09 am
I do love a challenge, but it encourages me to write utter rubbish, sadly.
And I tried the library but they have no power sockets. The problem is that I have to actively keep an eye on the cat, because last night he ate one of my mum’s cuttings that was just taking root! He’s a menace and will eat or at least chew everything when he’s in the mood. We can’t leave him alone.
February 1, 2014 at 9:27 am
Yes, that’s the problem with the library – you’re at the mercy of your laptop’s battery. *Grumble*
Wow, that cat does sound stressful!
Perhaps you can challenge yourself with time rather than word count.
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