Stress is like that friend who you have known for your whole life who makes annoying life decisions. You know they’ll pop up at the worst times with a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. They won’t ever go away, but sometimes they behave. I do not handle stress well. I bottle a lot in, and then I snap. It’s one of the things I’m trying to work on during counseling sessions.
Everyone handles stress differently. Some thrive, some crumble. I am currently somewhere in the middle. I’m taking more pills than I usually do to manage my muscle spasms and pain, and I’ve had to cancel some commitments. I’m not entirely staring at the television doing nothing all day like I have other times when I have been super stressed.
My only issue when I’m like this is I don’t write much of my fiction. I miss my characters, but it’s almost like I need them to help me manage my stress. I can’t possibly think about their problems. It makes me think I’m not a real writer because I go long periods without writing anything.
The appearance on social media by every writer I know is that they write every day. The fact is they schedule time to write as a part of their day. I feel like whenever I sit down to write fiction lately, I end up venting my feelings on paper. I had a college instructor who said that while that is a worthwhile tool, you’ll never get a novel done that way.
They taught me to try to channel my emotions into my word choice and descriptions. This is easier said than done. I tend to edit too much as I write. I’m worried about tone. I need to get better at letting go when I write. I want everything to be publisher-ready when I submit it. This isn’t realistic at all. Drafts are how a story reaches perfection. The only way I can write freely is when I co-write with my best friend. It’s because I know that is for fun. It’s not going to be published anywhere, and no one else will ever see it. I also think it makes me more excited to write because I get to be surprised myself. I wonder if that makes me lazy because I find writing surprises for readers stressful. I may not be able to confidently call myself a writer, but I am one.
I’ve never been the type of person who dismisses people who dabble in creative fields because the only thing that separates them from professionals is a paycheck if they love it. Don’t let stress convince you that the world is over. It could be changing for the better. You’ll always have a little bit of yourself to come back to with the things that make you happy.
Featured photo by voltamax courtesy of Pixabay.