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Writing and stress don’t mix very well. Not for me, anyway.
Sure, small amounts of stress (like having to meet a deadline or get a higher grade) can motivate you to produce—but if my stress gets out of control (which it tends to do more often than I’d like) then it can be one of the most destructive things to my creative process.
It infests my mind, entrenching itself in the background of everything I do, potentially corrupting every word I write. It prevents me from organizing my thoughts, releasing chemicals that amp up anxiety, and in my case, causing severe and extremely distracting headaches—making writing even more difficult than usual.
That’s why it’s so important to keep control of your stress: letting it control you will kill your drive to write even quicker than having no direction.
Luckily though there are ways to fight back against stress and relax.
When was the last time you had fun writing?
I mean really had fun. So much fun that you would literally spend all day writing if you could.
I love it when that happens. The words come so easily when I’m having fun. I can watch the story play in my head like a movie. I’m not distracted by what I want to happen ten chapters from now. I’m not worrying about if my writing is as good as I want it to be.
I’m just having fun, writing my story.
These are the days when I spend hour after hour typing away with the thought of taking a break never crossing my mind. These are the days on which I’m my most productive, putting down 4,000 or 5,000 words in one sitting.
I love these days—but I haven’t had a day like this in a long time…
and my guess is, neither have you.
let’s fix that.
Life doesn’t just happen… We have to make it happen.
We don’t just get the things that we want… We have to work for them.
How often do we forget these truths?
How often do we find ourselves going through the motions of everyday life, wanting something more from it, but doing nothing to make it into something more?
How often do we spend our days feeling trapped—locked in an endless routine that takes us nowhere? How often do we find ourselves thinking “what’s the point?” How often do we consider giving up and doing something else?
The way that we learned to walk was an exhausting and painful process. The way that we learn to tell stories is even more exhausting and much more painful.
Why? I guess it has something to do with our expectations.
It’s like we expect ourselves to be experts at all of this on day one.
We have these great stories in our heads and we expect ourselves to be able to just write them out. We expect ourselves to be able to write one awesome draft and be done with it. Maybe we’re not naïve enough to expect writing to be easy, but we definitely expect ourselves to be better at it. Don’t we?
But we’re not.
The morning hours, just after I wake up, are the most important hours of my entire day.
Why? Because these are the hours that control what type of day I’m going to have.
Is it going to be a lazy day? Or is it going to be productive?
Am I going to get a little extra work done? Or do the bare minimum?
Is it a relaxing day? Or is it stressful?
Is it good or bad?
open or full?
Successful, or not?
All of this depends on what type of morning I have—and that’s why it’s so important for me to spend these hours wisely…
Because the success of my day at large is entirely dependent on the success of my morning.
But how do I ensure that every morning a success?
Life is crazy. We all know that.
Because life these days isn’t actually life: it’s just one big rat race.
Everyone is running from point A to point B as fast as they can; doing everything they can to stay focused on the prize; pushing themselves to run harder—faster. Never satisfied with where they’re at. Always wanting to be more, better, greater.
The end goal is what’s important—and anything that get’s in the way of achieving that goal is to be avoided.
What a horrible way to live. What a soul sucking way to work. Who in their right mind would want to run in a race like that?
It sounds horrible and exhausting and… And it sounds… Oh…
… it sounds like the exact same way so many of us think about writing.
I don’t see white screens.
I don’t see blinking cursors or blank pages.
When I sit down to start a story, I don’t stare at my computer and see nothing: because, I’m not even really sitting in the chair.
My body might be there—but my mind is elsewhere.
You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do for a while? That idea that’s been keeping you up at night? Remember that awesome story that you’ve always wanted to tell?
Why haven’t you started telling it yet?