Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stress Factor


Thank you, Ginger, for this opportunity to talk about stress that writers might find themselves in at one point in their career.

I'd like to put some humor, but seeing the stress I've been in lately I don't believe any humor might come through.

When we begin our careers as writers we're happy-go-lucky, grabbing how-to books to hone our skills, and penning our stories. We then find ourselves in that stage where we need to begin branding our names as writers, promoting our books - that's when the stress factor begins.

One thing we need to remember is to sit down and evaluate our time available before we commit. Let me explain:

there are many things writers can do to help promote themselves:

write articles and submit them to online zines/magazines, article databanks
set up a newsletter
start a blog
start an online magazine
become an editor or blog writer for places such as About.com, eHow, etc.
interview authors/editors/publishers

All of the above help to get your name out there. But at what cost? Your writing may be affected if you don't organize your time for everything you've committed to. This is why it's very important to make sure you sit down and truly evaluate how much time you have to offer in order for you to complete a new task with the same quality and efficiency you've given to your own writing. If you don't, then stress takes a hold of you, drains you, and you find yourself staring at the computer screen more than actually typing.

I know.

These past two weeks have seen me completely stressed, worn out, lost my Muse, and have come THIS close to saying goodbye to everything I have always loved to do. The one thing that keeps me motivated is my sense of duty and obligation to finish what I start. This isn't always a good thing to possess because it continues to drain your passion when you feel your 'past love' has now become a 'job' - don't get in this rut.

Evaluate - Assess - then Commit!

I had a long talk with myself yesterday - and no, I was alone while talking so the men with the white jackets won't be coming to my home - and made a few decisions. Immediately, that weight I had been feeling lifted and today I feel almost like the old and passionate writer I remember from way back when.

I hope this helps some of you and avoid that awful stress factor.

Lea Schizas

12 comments:

Ginger Simpson said...

Lea,
thank you so much for being my Thursday Tourist and providing insight on stress. I'm so happy you managed to talk your way through, and didn't leave. It would be a real loss to some many in the industry, plus though of us who love your humor, vigor, and creativity.

My muse has taken off again, and I can't find 'her'. I have great intentions of finishing what I started, but without her guidance, I'm lost.

I need to find her and sit her down and discuss this stress thing. We've been under a ton of it lately and I'm sure she's hit the road looking for greener pastures and a happier person to deal with. *smile*

Thanks again. I always enjoy reading your posts.

Ginger Simpson said...

That was supposed to be "SO MANY". I'd like to blame that on stress, but it's a case of flying fingers not coordinating with my brain and what I want to say.

Sue McK said...

These are GREAT ideas, Lea! I also love your ideas of marketing. That online magazine really interests me...hmmm...I have to think more about this.

Thanks for the insight!

Sue

Nancy Famolari said...

Stress is a tremendous killer of creativity. Lea, your point is very well taken. We have to decide where to put our energy. I have heard that the best way to get your book sold is to write another book. Unfortunately, if we're so tied up with promo and family and etc., it become almost impossible.

Glad you made some decisions, Lea. You're too talented to let the muse fly away. You, too, Ginger!

Thanks for a timely post.

Pat McDermott said...

Timely post, Lea. Thanks for bringing it to us, Ginger. Every so often it's a good idea to take stock and see what has to fall by the wayside so we can focus our energy where it's most effective. We're worth it!

Sue McK said...

I agree with Nancy, too...I finally read the rest of the post (I was so excited about the marketing things, I wrote a comment too fast).

Lea, hang in there. Stress isn't a good thing at all. Just know you have a lot of fans out there.

Sue

Chris Redding said...

I've almost quit this business twice. The first time I refused to let my husband win.
the second time my critique partners pulled me back from the brink,

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Thank you, ladies, for stopping by. And stress really is not a 'fun' factor in any any career or anyone's life.

My dad (who passed away two years ago) used to say, "Lea, first thing you do is try and locate any sunny spots in the sky and then smile. It'll start your day on the right path."

Dad, I almost forgot that and did it this morning. It did help. Thank you.

Mirella Sichirollo Patzer said...

Lea, thanks for putting this into words so eloquently. Time is always a factor and promotion, blogs, articles, take a lot of time away from our writing. It's always good to be reminded to evaluate our time carefully.

Franny Armstrong-ParaNovelGirl said...

Too true, Lea. The stress that we build up is something WE DO TO OURSELVES!
Time management, and doing what's most important to accomplish first is a must to succeed. The thing to remember is 'NEVER SURRENDER! NEVER GIVE UP!' With those thoughts in mind we WILL succeed against all odds.
Have a great day, and happy writing.
Franny Armstrong-ParaNovelGirl

glenys said...

Thanks for the post, Lea -even thogh we chat with other authors and do lots of promo, writing is still a lonely kind of thing (unless you count all those characters in your head!) Nice to not be alone with the stress factor - I had that little talk with myself just a couple of days ago when I realised everything had got out of propertion and I wasn't doing the writing I love any more. Just no fun to be so stressed!We need to step back and re-evaluate from time to time in order to stay sane, or stay writing.

Clare London said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lea. Too often we think we have to "do it all", when you make the obvious but very critical point that the time and energy we have is finite. that's not to say we can't get a lot done, just that sensible choices have to be made. I'm doing that very thing at the moment, having come back from a holiday and finding myself reluctant to 'turn everything back on'.

I'm glad you've found some of your passion returning, too.
:)

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