I recently received an article across my desk about writer’s stress that really got me thinking. Well, thinking, and a little scared. I knew writing could be stressful at times, but I had no idea of the impact it could have on our health over the long term. It’s true, we have to deal with a lot. We spend a lot of time alone, we have to constantly come up with story ideas, keep up with social media, publish, create a platform, and deal with rejection, to name a few. I have to admit, I’ve experienced my fair share of stress along the way. In fact, the past year I experienced more than usual share of stress as I worked to get my book on the market. I am still trying to come to some place of inner peace that is my natural inclination, so that I can get on with my next book.
There is a great deal of information online about what a writer needs to succeed: Take this course if you want to be a successful writer. 10 steps to improve your writing. Build your platform the “write” way. Tweet. Facebook. Build your brand. Start a blog. Get a website… It’s all rather overwhelming. I went through all of these things too, believing that I had to do each and every one of them if I was going to be a success. In truth, you can do all those things, but I don’t believe that any one of them will necessarily guarantee that success.
So you have a blog and you get a good number of readers. Does that guarantee that those people are going to buy your book? You join all the social media sites that will connect you with readers and writers alike. It takes a great deal of time to build those connections. Time that perhaps could be used more effectively. Go on a speaking tour to generate interest in your book. This means more work, more money, more time and effort. You’ve already put in a lot of time and money with very little result. You’re tired and you have very little time to write that novel that’s been nothing more than an idea in your head for a long time now. Where does it all end? Of course you’re stressed. It’s because you’re not able to write your heart’s desire. So, what’s a person to do?
YOU CAN CHOOSE:
It took me a while, but I am learning that I can’t do everything, nor do I want to. I have had to make some choices that fit in with who I am and what I’m willing to do. I enjoy blogging. Writing small articles about what interests me is fun because I get to complete something in a short period of time. Writing a novel can take months, or in my case, years. So I’ll keep that. Tweeting takes a lot of time and energy that I don’t have. So that goes. I’ve always dreamed of having my own website – a place where everything you want to know about me, my books, and what I’m doing is in once place — and now that is a reality. I enjoy speaking. So I will work to include this into my writing life. You get the idea. Pick and choose what’s right for you.
Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do and what you absolutely don’t want to do. Don’t do things just because some stranger online says you should. Trust yourself and what will make you happy. You can only do so much.
LIVE THE CREATIVE LIFE:
Writing is supposed to be about doing what you love. Living the creative life. Being Happy. If you’re too tired of trying to keep up with the million and one thing writers are “supposed to do” to be successful, you’ll have nothing left for what counts. It doesn’t matter what seems so important to you, if you’re not writing, you’re not going to be happy. At least that’s the way it is for me.
I finally got to this place yesterday. I decided to put other things aside to make time to work on my new book and I feel lighter, happier for it. Once I’ve filled up on this for a while – that is, filled up my soul with my heart’s desire – maybe then, I’ll be ready for more. I have to trust that whatever I’ve put out there already will come back to me in time in the form of speech engagements, book sales, and other opportunities that are available for writers. For now, it’s enough to write my heart’s desire. More than enough.