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…