Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to Overcome Writing Pressures

Writers must face a huge amount of pressure during our careers. Before we even get published, we have to deal with the pressure of balancing our writing time with our daily lives without the backup of having validated our career choice through publication. Then there's the pressure to come up with a story idea that's new and interesting, to finish that first draft, to rewrite, to edit, and rewrite again. We then have the pressure to write the perfect query letter, to research the right agent, to impress said agent.

But it doesn't end there. Once we gain publication we have to face more pressures. To market, to edit again, to 'get it right', and then to write another book that's even better than the first.

Among all that there are the unnecessary pressures we put on ourselves. There's the pressure to measure up to other writers. The pressure to 'succeed'. We worry about book signings and speaking engagements and coming up with the next great blog post to keep our readers interested. The pressure we put on ourselves is greater than any pressure from an outside source—especially if we are unrealistic in the way we measure success. We could either turn into diamonds under that pressure, or we could crack.

So how do we overcome these pressures? The simple answer is, 'Just breathe'. What I mean by this is that when we are heaped under a load of pressure—whether from ourselves or others—we forget. We forget how much we love to write. We forget we chose this life because the need to write flows in our blood. We can no sooner stop writing than we can stop breathing.

Sure, we might be able to hold our breath for a while, but soon the need to breathe—to write—presses in on us and we succumb and take that sweet breath. When we put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, we remember how right, how wonderful writing is.

Why go through the angst? Let's remember to breathe before we go blue, because let's face it, breathing and writing are awesome.

How do you overcome pressures of writing, study, career, or life in general?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post on the first Wednesday of each month. #IWSG

Thank you to Lauren for the Open Horizons award.

Carole Anne Carr is offering her ebook Candle Dark for free for three days from 6th July until 8th July. She is also offering her ebook First Wolf free for two days—July 12th and 13th. So be sure to check them out!

.

56 comments:

  1. tomorrow i am having my MPhil admission test.though my sentence structure and ideas are good,i am not satisfied with my grammar.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Writing is our breath, our oxygen. Excellent post, Lynda. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I handle the pressures by not putting unrealistic expectations on myself. I'm quite satisfied with publishing short stories and flash fiction while I polish my novels. No hurry.

    Oh yes, i also find it helps to spend time travelling to keep my mind stimulated. Being in Fiji writing is paradise.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you are getting soooo inspired in Fiji. And yes, I'm thinking it's good not to be in any hurry.

      Delete
  4. Lynda, you're right on that score. Just before I got up, I rattled off in my brain the things I have to complete and wondering how and when they'll be done and how to juggle them. All it leads to is feeling like the world is on my shoulders.

    I tell myself, 'it'll all get done when the time is right'. Yes, I do forget and go antsy again, but I find that things always work out in their time. Thanks for this reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are so right. Sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself why I'm doing this. I feel like I'm walking around with an open wound and wince when anyone brings out the salt. I'm new to the #IWSG, but it's so me it was ridiculous not to join up. I'm in such great company too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the group!! I'm glad you've joined up.

      Delete
  6. Yes, the pressure to make the next book better...
    I remind myself I chose this path. And that I can choose not to walk it anymore if I want. It's one of the few things I can control.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just ignore the pressure, pressure schmessure.... who needs it.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, that's a neat skill to have. You must teach me some time ;)

      Delete
  8. Writing is how I breathe. I used to "relax" by watching videos online, and while I enjoyed it, it just became a huge time waster. You get sucked into those videos and end up spending hours just staring at the computer.

    So now, I relax by writing. Not to get a word count, or work on a WIP. I spend 15 minutes every day just free writing to get all the stress out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The pressure is the reason I try to convince myself I don't care if I ever get published or not. I just want to write. I think I'm still stuck in the coal phase of the metamorphic cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have to surround myself with supportive people who talk me off the self-doubt ledge. I can't do it on my own. I am too insecure. And, just keep writing, or playing, or creating, living, breathing, parenting, and following my intuition. Great post/question!

    Play off the Page

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was thinking about coal too. :) I had a lot of pressure (mostly self-imposed) when I worked at a normal job too. I think the difference with writing is it all seems to be so all or nothing, success or failure, with no steady paycheck along the way.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 'because let's face it, breathing and writing are awesome.'

    :) :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can't do one without the other IMHO! I do a lot of breathing, then I go lie down, then I can return to the computer and write something. Love the lying down part!

    Your giveaway is wonderful. I hope it garners you a ton of new readers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. So true. All those pressures we put on ourselves in addition to those pressures for which we have no control can burn us out. I'm trying to breathe and out the inner demons aside and just try to enjoy my writing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. too much pressure and we explode
    but a little pressure is good, like goals =)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Breathing is good!!! LOL!!! We must all remember to breathe! Stepping back and calming down helps too! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  17. Right now my pressure is the kids are out of school and I can get no writing time because of it. People ask me about when I'll publish my book. I have to bite my tongue not to answer, 'I have to get the @$#% thing written first!' I hope, come August, I'll have critique pressures instead. I'll welcome them!

    Great post. :) IWSG #288

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hehehe, maybe the kids will end up being inspiration ;)

      Delete
  18. Just breathe is probably the best advice ever! Taking our time is so important :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Breathing is good. Some pressure is good (tire pressure, air pressure.) But when the pressure gets too great, I have to go for a walk, or take a bath, or step away from the page for a day or two. I recharge my batteries by binge reading or a marathon day of movie watching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your methods of recharging the batteries.

      Delete
  20. Yes, the pressure builds and builds, but when something goes right, when that glorious review appears, or a deal is signed or a fan letter received--we glow.
    I don't think I deal well with pressure because I pressure myself more than anyone else does. I'm focused and determined because I cannot imagine doing anything else in my life than writing (beside publishing, marketing, formatring etc...).

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post... and you know sometimes taking a long breath is what I forget to do... thanks:)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I often study how others "do it" to get tips. I've added several non-writing projects into the mix. I'm working on my new balance. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. *Inhales deeply* I see myself in this post, putting far more pressure on me than is necessary to get the job done. I will to remember that both writing and breathing are AWESOME! All I need to do is enjoy the process, and breathe. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I meditate before I go to sleep each night with a guided hypnosis recording. It clears my mind and then stress don't trouble my sleep. I also am living by my new philosophy of 'don't get stuff done'. That way I'm actually being productive if things get left undone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, love that new philosophy you have ;)

      Delete
  25. Great ideas. Overcoming the pressure starts from within.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The keyword is... breathe!
    And I think it's baby steps first, before we jog, run and then finally sprint!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ah, I wondered why I write... it's all that pressure. As an introvert I just LOVE it! (not....) I keep reminding myself that I write for myself first and that I'll deal with rest as it comes, if it does.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great post! I think we all need to step back and just take a moment to breathe now and then. Goodness knows I do it. I'll offer myself up a little distraction and then come back to my writing refreshed.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Just breathe--I knew I was forgetting something!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think most non writers don't have a clue about what we face. I appreciate your insight and encouragement. I attended a small writing conference last year where Laura Resnick's topic focused on the same thing. "Breathe," she said, for it is important for so many reasons. :) Thanks for the reminder; I needed it today.

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Breathing and writing are awesome! Love your encouraging post.

    ReplyDelete
  32. breathing deeply does activate our brain cells :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. So true! We writers put ourselves under a lot of pressure. I'll have to remember to breathe. Thanks for the advice.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks, Lynda...I needed that! I'm a late bloomer when it comes to writing, so my tendency is to feel like I have a lot of ground to make up. However, I know you're right about taking time to breathe. Allowing the creative juices to flow requires that we relax a bit. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Absolutely true, Lynda. From the past few days, I have been overstressed and under pressure. I completely get this post.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I do need a bit of pressure, I think, to push me towards goals. But too much and your focus is taken away from the actual writing. You have to step back sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, absolutely. A little pressure is good. My writing is usually a thousand times better when I'm under a little pressure. I don't over think it that way.

      Delete
  37. Hey Lynda!

    I’m having a writing contest and would really like to see you enter! You can check it out here: http://aidylewoh.blogspot.com/2012/07/writing-contest.html
    (I’m going to extend it till July 13th.) Hope to see you there!

    
~Aidyl

    ReplyDelete
  38. Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

    ReplyDelete
  39. Excellent post... I've been through many stages where I got bogged down with all the "other stuff" and forgot I loved to write. Remembering is always the best and most amazing feeling! :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. ". . . breathing and writing are awesome."

    I must agree. :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. We really are hard on ourselves, aren't we? Just breathe! Remember to take your own advice. I know I have a healthier perspective when it comes to other writers.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I remind myself to breathe.

    I always have self-imposed deadlines, and I give myself extensions. I also surround myself with positive people who cheer me on. I also find that being organized, having to-do lists, and making realistic goals also help. Being under too much pressure can have the opposite effect. The right amount of pressure spurs me on, though.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Love this post. The pressures can be so intense. When we are unpublished we think once we are published that all the worries fade away. After we're published, we have to worry about reviews, ratings, PR, sales numbers, Amazon Ranking. Oh, sorry. *deep breath* It is so true. We just need to stop and breathe.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks... I will breathe and continue to breathe especially when writing. Ms Lynda, how do you come up with things to write on your blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. gosh, good question. I usually write on topics I'm going through myself. I've just passed through a high pressure stage and wanted to share how I got through.

      Delete

I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.