Writing can be a rewarding career, but like any profession, it is not without its stresses. Managing the pressure of deadlines while making time for everything else in your life can be one long juggling act.
And so, because everyone can use a helping hand sometimes, we’ve put together three simple ways of handling the stresses of life as a writer and making sure you manage those deadlines.
1. Know When Works for You
Some people are night owls and come alive when darkness falls, filled with inspiration, and in the absence of distraction they can create some of their best work. Others, though, are their most productive in the morning upon awakening from a restful sleep.
Recognizing when you are most productive is key to utilizing and leveraging your best work as well as that precious time. We’ve all been there, when hours have been spent staring at a blank page or computer screen with no inspiration in sight. Instead of allocating more hours to your tasks and writing, assign your most productive time slot(s) to your most pressing deadlines.
2. Be Realistic
Begin by mapping out your plan of action. Be realistic about how fast you actually write, get to know your pace and limitations, and set out a schedule you can stick to. Author Martha Carr suggests asking, “How much time can you realistically devote to writing in a day? How many days a week can you write without neglecting other areas of your life? Crunching these numbers will give you a framework for setting realistic expectations.”
3. Refill Your Cup
When you are on a tight deadline, rest and sleep can seem like a luxury, but as the saying goes – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Not getting enough sleep can inhabit optimum brain function. Equally, feeding your mind with creativity, like visiting a museum, getting outside in nature or catching a movie is needed to let your mind and body replenish.
As a final thought, bestselling author and writing mentor Gail Anderson-Dargatz shares some tips for aspiring writers. “Find a community of writers and talk to them about your fears,” she advises. “You’ll very quickly see that we all face very similar issues as we learn this highly complicated craft. And realize that learning to write is as difficult as learning to play the piano. It takes as much instruction, practice and time. So be easy on yourself.”
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