Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How Can Writers Stay Calm?

Welcome July

I found the perfect poster for today. It welcomes this seventh month of the year and gives a piece of good advice for writers. Actually for everyone, but let's concentrate on writers for the moment.

How often have you let yourself get upset over something in your writing life? I've done it many times and I'm betting you have, as well. The list below highlights a few things that cause me to have need of calming influences.

1. I sometimes become a worry wort when I don't hear about a submission for a lengthy period of time.

2.  I get frustrated when a story I'm writing doesn't work well. 

3. I reach the boiling point when a submission gets rejected more than once.

4.  I am nervous when my To-Do list grows ever longer and my time to work on it becomes shorter. 

5. I get upset with myself when I've procrastinated and then write under pressure.

When we get frustrated, upset or angry about situations in our writing life, we need to take a step back and calm down. If you look at my list again, you'll see that being upset is not going to change any one of the items listed. If anything, that reaction only creates more turmoil in your writing life.

What can you do to find that preferred state of calm

1. Get away from whatever upset you. Take a walk. Head for the beach. Go see a movie. But remove yourself from the irritation.

2. Talk to yourself. That's right--talk to yourself. Mentally, not aloud or people will stare. Give yourself the advice you'd give some other writer who is facing problems.

3. Consider what other writers go through. How many articles have you read that tell you about successful authors who had a book rejected umpteen times before it was finally published? If famous names get rejection after rejection, why can't you? It's all part of the writing game.

4. When you've procrastinated and are short on time, do the best you can with what you have and vow to never get in that spot again.

5. If a story is not going well, step away from it for a few days or have another writer look at it and give suggestions. Rare is the story that writes itself or runs smoothly from word one to the end. 

6. Find a mantra that you can repeat whenever things go wrong in your writing world. It might be the well-known I think I can or something you make up that has personal meaning for you. Repeat it when needed as many times as it takes to bring a bit of soothing. 

7. Call a writer friend and vent a bit. It might release the tension you've built up and when you're finished, you can move on in a calmer way.

Please note that in the first list I used myself as an example. Even though I post tips and encouragement for writers here five days a week, I often need to heed my own advice. I have to admit that the items in the first list happened more in the early days of my writing journey than they do now. I'd like to think I've learned how to handle those situations a little better as I've moved along my writing path. Maybe we do get wiser and calmer as we get older. 

On this first day of July, my advice is to carry on with your writing life in the calmest way possible. It's you who will reap the benefit of doing so. 

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