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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Can a Stressed Writer be a Successful Writer?

Living in the 21st century is stressful for most of us, despite life being easier than it's ever been. Technology is at its most remarkable, in the forms of mobile telephones, text messages, emails and Skype. You can achieve most things by clicking a button, or so it seems. And although some things have now been made possible, compared to a hundred years ago, one damaging thing is now ubiquitous, and that is stress.

Most writers experience stress at some point in their careers. Most writers have day jobs too, so they worry whether they will have enough time to write a satisfactory amount in a week. They seem to worry constantly about plot lines, character development, copyright, and whether their book will actually sell once it's published. Then there's the added turmoil of marketing - a whole different ball game which the writer must manage efficiently. So it's a wonder the majority of writers don't have a breakdown and give up completely.

But that's the thing about stress, it doesn't always have to have the same result. You can either panic, have a meltdown and never write another word again, or you can accept stress is normal in life now and work your way through things.

The huge benefit of being self employed is you can take a break whenever you feel things are getting too much. But the pivotal point of this blog is to recognise when you've reached that point. If you feel yourself worrying constantly, are prone to panic attacks and have sleepless nights, then your stress levels sound like they could be rising.

Stress is a major killer in the UK. It causes heart disease, eczema  headaches, high blood pressure, some people even say it causes certain types of cancer and diabetes, and those are just the physical effects.

When I get stressed I can't think straight. My brain feels like it's just been wrung out like a wet dish cloth. I get anxious and irritable, and the last thing I feel like doing is writing. For me, my writing flows best when I am relaxed and calm. My creative juices can pour out of of me without encountering any blockages. If I was stessed all the time, I fear I would struggle to write.

But what about you? Are you the same as me, or do you feel that a certain amount of stress helps you get things done?

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