Stress: The Creativity Killer

Have you ever noticed that the dreaded writer’s block gets triggered by stress? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s figured out that correlation. Financial, household, adulting stress… whenever I’m feeling the pressure, my creativity takes a serious nosedive.

My muse’s inevitable response is: “I’m out,” leaving me with the added stress of being unable to write. My friends, I have far too many unfinished stories to be staring at the blinking cursor of death. I’m not getting any younger here.

And let’s not forget about the biggest stress issue for us writers: Bestselling Authors.

Ohh, yeah. You know who I’m talking about: those authors who seem to be everywhere, doing everything, all the time. Somehow, they manage to be spouses, raise families, and post pet photos, even though they attend every book signing. They’re included in anthologies while pumping out books once a month and always have new content to write about in their weekly newsletters. They have a PR service in their corner, merch shops, and exclusive subscribers on Patreon. Meanwhile, they’re uploading viral TikToks and guest-appearing on popular podcasts.

Those Bestselling Authors.

We take one look at everything they’re accomplishing, and our creativity shrivels away. Now, we have Performance Stress on top of everything else.

Suddenly, we feel inadequate. Unable to compete. We could never accomplish all of that because of reasons A, B, or C… which circles back around to our original stress. Finances, home life, adulting… ugh.

It’s a vicious cycle.

The thing is, we have control over what affects us and what doesn’t. Our lives are never going to be stress-free. The time for writing is never going to be perfect. Do you know why these authors are bestsellers and living crazy, productive lives?

Because they treat their author brand like a company and writing like a 9-5 job. That’s it. It’s really just that simple. They have found a way to discipline themselves into writing prolifically by treating it like a business. They see themselves as Entrepreneurs, not authors. They set a writing schedule, and they follow it while making sure it doesn’t interfere with the rest of their lives. They set deadlines, and they follow them.

To be 100% candid with you: I don’t know if I can do that. But I’m sure going to try. It’s just a battle of willpower, right? I don’t have much, to be honest. I’m lazy and have an addictive personality—two major archnemeses of willpower.

But I’m tired of not getting where I want to be as an author. I want my books to have the same limelight as those bestsellers.

So, here’s the plan I’ve come up with and you’re more than welcome to give it a try, too:

  • Find a writing buddy that will hold me accountable for my new, self-imposed schedule and, in turn, provide them the same service.
  • Find a way to ensure my reports can’t be fudged, that I have to be completely honest about whether or not I’ve kept to my schedule.
  • Make my new schedule scalable. Start small and work my way up. Whether setting it by hours or word count, I won’t give myself added stress by setting those goals too high.
  • Take the time I need to focus on other things in life outside of writing, so those stressors don’t pile up.
  • And keep to my new schedule for at least six months because that’s how long it takes to make or break habits.

What do you think? If you have any suggestions to add, please leave a comment below. In the meantime, I am going to start figuring that new schedule out. I’ll keep you posted…

10 responses to “Stress: The Creativity Killer”

  1. Here’s another pointer. There is no such thing as writer’s block. Remember that. It takes courage to write. Lots of it. We put are blood, sweat and tears on the page. It’s a tricky balance; you don’t want to beat yourself up, but also don’t want to mollycoddle yourself. You need to find your balance.

    Another tip. 95% of your best writing will be done with out inspiration. It will be done through sheer force of will. It’s like breaking rocks with your head. But I love when I finish a project. Nothing like it. And than some one like you comes along and says something I wrote helped them. That’s why we do it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome. I blog to help others, too, so I know it means a lot. I think, ultimately, finding the balance is what I’m trying to achieve. Discipline is merely the first step. So, thank you for the extra pointers, I appreciate it! 🙂


  2. I hear you and feel the same way!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too. Sending you supportive thoughts! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I relate to this post so much!! You describe my feelings about the struggles of authorship better than I ever could.
    Stress kills my creativity too, and knowing how effortlessly the top tier authors churn out new books isn’t helping. And while I’ve also recognized that I have to set myself clear writing plans and deadlines, “knowing what you should do” and “being able to do it” are two different things. Learning new skills takes time and effort, and I’m still very much in the process of LEARNING. My current pattern seems to be that I meet my goals brilliantly one month only to go completely off the rails the next.

    Also, 70% of anything I write is rubbish. Haha.

    I volunteer as a writing buddy! 🙂 I don’t know how well I can keep anyone accountable, but at least I can be supportive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When it comes to discipline, I’m very much in the learning stage, too, lol. We can be supportive of each other! We seem to do that naturally, already. 😀 And remember, rubbish can be polished, it’s getting it on paper that counts. Sometimes getting the rubbish out of our system allows us to see a better plot path… but that’s an issue for another post, lol. Thanks, Anna! ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree; getting the story down on paper is the most important thing. You can’t edit an empty page, as they say. And indeed, rubbish can be polished, it’s just a damn lot of work. I’m a rubbish-polishing champion, LOL.

        Let’s continue to support each other in our efforts. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. […] creating the post Stress: The Creativity Killer, I went on the hunt for suggestions about how to become a more disciplined writer. I was hoping for […]



    Good to see you posting, my friend!

    We both can talk for hours about stress… especially during the last three years.

    I’ve conquered a lot of the stress–with therapy–but my writing mojo still hasn’t returned. I’ve tried a couple of your recommendations, with little success. Now I’m scheduling small writing blocks during the day where I have to write “something”…poetry/haiku. drabbles, flash fiction…anything as long as I get words down on paper.

    It’s helping… so far. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Fle. It’s good to be posting again! It’s encouraging to see others taking a stand with their stress and saying, “enough” it’s time to get back to peace and creativity.

      You’re absolutely right, we all could hash out the past three years, telling different versions of similar loss, stress, and hardships. But it seems we’d rather focus on climbing out of it and inspire one another to keep going. I’m so happy to be back in this environment and am determined to keep myself here this time around! *crossing fingers*

      I’m glad you’re writing blocks are working so far and hope they continue! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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