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How To Cope With Stress As A Writer
By Bethany Cadman on June 17, 2016
Every job has its ups and downs and its stresses and strains, and writing is no exception! In fact, it might be fair to say that being a writer comes with its own unique pressures – ones which you don’t often see in other jobs.
For example, the pressure is very much upon the writer as an individual, we don’t work in teams, we don’t have bosses guiding us or giving us feedback, our level of success is determined by us and us alone. Then there is the self-critic, the one who tells us we are not good enough, that we are foolish for trying, that we are embarrassing ourselves, and of course not to mention the deadlines, the overbearing editors, the anticipation of pitching, of sending our work off to publishers, and, more often then not, the then crushing disappointment when we are rejected time and time again!
Saying that, being a writer can bring creative satisfaction, dazzling success, can make you feel proud, alive, and excited to be following your dreams. You can travel, work form anywhere and pick any hours you choose – so there are some positives too!
Being able to cope with stress as a writer is important – it will make the high’s all the better, and the lows more easy to manage. Here are some tips on how to deal with it.
Revel in your creativity
Write everything down, turn yourself into a factory of ideas, tell yourself that no idea is stupid however half-baked or crazy it may seem. Open your eyes and ears and be influenced by everything. Be true to your creative self. Being creative is calming and joyous so set your creativity free!
Don’t put pressure on yourself or worry what anyone else will think, and you’ll feel calm and at ease knowing that you are following your heart.
While it’s great to run around in golden meadows embracing your creativity, there is also a point where you have to get real.
If writing is your job then work at it. Create a schedule and stick to it, make time for researching, writing, re-reading, editing, pitching etc. Whatever you need to do to get the job done, make a (realistic) plan and be disciplined in following it.
Keep track of time and make sure you don’t get carried away doing any one thing. Set yourself goals and limits.
It might take a bit of trial and error to get it right, but you know what you are capable of, what is far too much, and when you are giving yourself an easy ride, so make a schedule that pushes you but doesn’t overwhelm you, and then get going!
The beautiful thing about being a writer is that reading counts as work! Reading is a great way to unwind and get inspired, so if you have been writing for too long and feel yourself getting stressed then take a break form it, do some reading and then go back to it feeling motivated and ready to start working at it again.
Many writers find it difficult to remain inspired and motivated when sitting alone at a desk all day. So get out there into the world and get some fresh air.
Research has shown walking is good for us for a number of reasons, it lowers your risk of diabetes, helps build stronger bones, a healthier cardiovascular system, and reduces body fat, and increases energy.
Perhaps most importantly for writers however, is that is has shown to focus the mind.
Many great writers have taken up this advice – Beatrix Potter was a huge fan of walking, and used the nature around her to inspire her stories. Charles Dickens famously said: “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy.” While even J.K Rowling advocated walking for inspiration saying there is “nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas.”
Keeping focused, energised and calm while writing is so important. So next time you are feeling a little over worked or under pressure why not try one or more of the above and see if it helps calm you down, and allow you to get back to work?