Monday, July 11, 2011

Stress and the Life of an Author

By Cheri Chesley (re-post from 5/24/10)

**These are simply my observations, and should in no way be taken as established truths.**

As an author, I dream of deadlines. I long to have an editor pushing me to get my revisions, or my drafts, in by a certain day and time. Yeah, I'm a glutton for punishment. But we do this. We want this. And, if we have a contract and this isn't happening, we (or at least I) can really drive ourselves up the wall.

But, in our heart of hearts, I think we can admit a good deal of the stress we experience as writers is self-inflicted.

I'm not going to tell you that setting goals and deadlines for yourself is unhealthy, because it's not. If you don't, you could well be working on the same novel for 20 yrs. At the same time, we are not above heaping stress upon ourselves for a great number of things.

Let's say we miss that deadline by a week.

Or we make the deadline because we've put off our family to have time to write.

After about ten minutes at the computer, I have horrible upper back pain. It just starts aching, and pretty soon I'll have to get up. I don't do my stretches. I don't see my chiropractor regularly and, sadly, have only had one massage in my life. I'm beginning to think, at least for me, these things are critical in relieving stress and making me a more prolific writer.

The sad thing is I can't offer any real solution for resolving the stress. There may be none. But, perhaps, some of you have ideas on reducing it. Thoughts?


Danyelle Ferguson said...

I set timers. I tell my munchins I'm going to work for one hour. When the timer goes off, they can come bug me with any questions they need. But unless they're bleeding, don't bother mom. =) During that time they either play outside or watch TV. I try to do this once in the morning, then again in the afternoon, and another hour in the evening after the kids are in bed. Some days I get more, some days I don't get it all. But it's worth trying to be consistent. And way less stressful than freaking out because it's dinner time and I didn't get any writing done at all. And it's truly amazing how much you can get done in one hour!

I also have probs with back pain. I think I just need to get a new chair.