Worry free? Did I say worry free? I’m sorry, I meant the keys to worrying less about your writing because, let’s be honest, there are no “worry free” keys. I don’t know how many columns, blogs and even books I have read over the years that offer “worry free” writing but it must be in the thousands. Each of these resources has come from well-meaning writers who think they hold the holy grail of stress free writing but truth be told you are more likely to find Noah’s Ark than the key to stress free writing.
Writing, by its nature, is stressful. Not OMG-I-work-on-a-high rise-building stress or I-test-the-electric-chairs-for-prisons stress but stress all the same. We are either concerned with making a living at it, making a deadline or coming up with just the right angle on a story to make it sell able. Stress, if you are to be a full-time writer, is written into the unbreakable contract that we all make with the All-knowing Muse of Writers….
There are things, keys if you will, that can at least tone down the stress. Some of them seem simple enough yet many writers I know don’t practice any of them. Here are a few of the keys on my ring…yours may vary because not everything works for every writer, but these are pretty basic.
· Create a quiet place to create – This seems a no-brainer yet I know writers who still peck away at the local coffee shop. I think a coffee shop writing session is okay from time to time but by and large we need a special quiet place at home.
· Make sure what you need is within reach – This one waffles depending on who you talk to. When I say “what you need”, I don’t necessarily mean the Twinkie box. (Although if it helps keep it close) I mean supplies, pens if you long-hand it, printer cartridges, paper, coffee…the stuff that helps you do your job. Having to stop work and search is annoying.
· Where ever you are, be there – Best advice anyone has ever given me for life in general is this one. Often times we sit down to write but our minds are on bills, kids, house work, why the dog insists on linking himself so much…everything other than writing….stop that…be in your writing.
· Turn off the distractions i.e. e-mail, phone, fax, television, that annoying guy with the ads on Pandora – I swear I spend more time doing other things than I do writing most days. I had to retrain myself not to answer e-mail and the phone during a session. Turn off the distractions for a couple of hours a day…I swear the world will function without you.
· Don’t take on too much – I have two stories I am editing, one story I am writing and two more that are hounding me to get out…that can cause a lot of stress which will then affect my writing. Concentrate on one or two projects at a time. Currently I am writing one and editing one…I can juggle that.
These are just a few of the rings on my key ring and not all of them work all of the time. There are as many keys as there are writers, you just have to find yours. So remember, there is no “stress free” writing but there are ways to at least hold some of the stress at bay. Grab your whip and chair and tame those things that are stressing you…trust me…you will thank me once you’ve done it.
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