Let’s get real for a second. Stress SUCKS. I’m sure everyone agrees with me. It ruins our moods. Makes us eat everything in sight. Allows us to get sick and rundown. Draws pretty little worry lines on our foreheads.
As authors you would think stress would be minimized by writing. A therapy of sorts. Wrong. Ok, well maybe not COMPLETELY wrong. Let me explain.
When I write I zone out. I enter a world of my own creation filled with mystery, danger, thrill and love. It is a place that I love to be and when I am able to spend hours there I feel happy. Its when I come back to the real world that I feel jarred.
Emails. FB messages. Tweets. Deadlines. Insane schedules. Sales ranks. Expectations. All of these create what I call “the creative black hole of doom.” Please don’t hear me wrong. I LOVE chatting with people. I LOVE responding to reader emails. I even kinda sorta like deadlines. But many times these are the areas that cause the greatest pressure on a writer.
What once felt like something fun becomes work. Balancing out business with pleasure can be hard to do for creative minds. So while we are lost in our own worlds we leap and prance with joy, but when we return to the real world we realize that we’d just “wasted” marketing opportunities, emails are piling up, giveaway winners need to be contacted and so many other things. We begin to feel pressured to spend less time writing and more time with people. There in lies the issue. How do we find that balance?
Being an indie author is the HARDEST thing I have ever done…and the BEST. Authors push themselves through illness, loneliness when their families are off having a life, skip meals, forget what sleep is and let life pass them by all for the sake of publishing fast to retain readers. What was once a one book a year is now every 6 weeks to play with algorithms.
Authors are humans though we try to convince ourselves that we are something more. That the poor eating habits, small chunks of sleep and the mounting stress as a deadline approaches isn’t going to affect our health. WRONG!
Illness. Weight gain. Mood swings. Depression. Raising blood pressure. Sense of never ending failure. Carpal Tunnel. Writer’s block. Yeah…I bet many of you can relate to some if not all of these. It is the nature of the beast…but does it have to be?
Can we not just write a killer book or two per year and produce our best work instead of spreading thin? Can we take a vacation without feeling guilty over not having time to chat with people on social media? Can we take a summer off to spend with our kids while they are home with us?
Perhaps we put this stress on ourselves. Maybe others are there to do it for you. If there is one thing I have learned, the hard way, it is that eventually something has to give. Eventually you will take a break, even if its only the one your body forces you to take.
I’m a huge fan of planning ahead. Writing goals. I’m also a huge fan of honesty. So here goes…you can NOT be the author you dream of being if you stretch yourself too thin.
This is a lesson that I need to be reminded of myself from time to time. So figure out what your limits are. Know your breaking points. Be good to yourself. Readers will wait for good authors. Trust in that. And give yourself a break. You deserve it!
“Know your limits and stay FAR AWAY from your breaking point.” ~Amy Miles