2016 · March

Unneeded Pressure

Hello, Readers!

Yesterday wasn’t a productive day at all for me. One it doesn’t help that I’ve been down sick since Sunday, but it was more than that. Something internally was going on in my head that allowed me to give in to just not feeling good.

After allowing myself to sit and think about it I’ve come up with some more thoughts. If you can’t tell I’m always analyzing myself. It’s what I do. I know when I’m working in my prime conditions, and when I’m not I’m mentally checking myself. One small tip in either direction tends to set off my anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

Anyway, I digress, during this time I sat staring at my work in progress. I’ve been over 44k since Saturday, but I haven’t pushed myself much beyond that. Not to mention I haven’t been reading either. Too many X’s on my calendar in a row is usually a sign I’m slipping back into darker places than I want to be, so of course I spent yesterday thinking why that was.

There was a time when I sat down to my writing excited, and when I couldn’t write I was itching to do so. I’ll admit lately, that isn’t it at all. In fact, it hasn’t been that way in years. I sink into my office chair with trepidation. The act of writing is no longer fun for me. Sure, sometimes it’s something you either have to push through or find a new project, but I’ve been trying to push through, and it isn’t getting any easier. Which if any of you know me it usually does after I hit a certain point. This time, it isn’t.

Maybe I just wasn’t into the project I’m working on? But that seemed unlikely as this is something I’ve been cooking up for a few years now. Maybe I’d hit a writer’s block?  (Depends on what you consider that) Again though the answer is no. The book is completely plotted so I know where it’s going. It’s not a matter of that.

It took me some time to figure it out. It’s pressure. I have put so much pressure on myself throughout my entire writing career. Oh, I want to be bestseller I told myself in the beginning. I will be work hard until I’m there. If any of you has heard of the upheaval with Amazon and their classifications of a bestseller, that has lost its sparkle for me. It’s sadly a useless title unless it’s New York Times Bestseller. Anyway, that is a topic for another time.

So it left me thinking, why do I write? What makes me want to write? You can read countless articles, talk to many authors. I write because I can’t not write. It’s like breathing. It’s what I do. My brain tosses in, it’s not that way for me. Ah Oh. Problem solved.

I’m not loving writing any longer. I can go weeks without writing, without thinking about writing. The act of sitting up to the computer creates drudgery, and as I’ve watched Facebook fan page likes plummet it only makes it worse.

Writing is very much a solo thing. You are in it alone most of the time. I have never kidded myself about that factor, but it also makes it much easier to accomplish if you know people are waiting to read your next book. It creates a certain excitement than you can pull on in your darkest of hours….most of the time. Trust me, nothing works 100% of the time.

Well, with likes dropping from my fan page (Mind you I have no books out right now so it’s sort of a given, but still jarring).  My drudgery when it came to writing, and overall I was feeling pretty low. Nobody cares if I write my next book. There aren’t lines of people waiting for me to release a novel.

Nope, and it shouldn’t take that for me to write. I’ve put this unneeded pressure on myself while writing. Hurry through this draft so we can move onto the next draft for this book and make it even better. Push through this draft so we can go back through, and add even more depth. And the cycle continues on and on. It was always about pushing through. Just getting through this one draft.

There was no love or passion in that. I made myself both the whipping boy and the torturer in one go. No longer was my writing about the love of storytelling, and to be honest, my books probably very much read that way. No passion for the characters still remained. There was no real reason to continue writing other than it was something to do while I was home alone all the time, but it wasn’t something I loved to do or something I was passionate about.

The pressure that I’d applied to myself had sapped any of that from my writing. I no longer wrote for myself or anyone else. I wrote to say I wrote. This is where that nasty turn of phrase ‘Writers Write’ can be so damaging. Writers might write, but if they are not passionate or in love with what they are writing or the process of writing itself – well, they might as well be writing instruction manuals. They’re not going to love it, and you as readers are going to be able to tell that. Trust me, you can read when an author’s heart isn’t in their work.

In saying all of this I’d come to the conclusion. If I’m going to dedicate all this time to writing, I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing, otherwise, I’m not doing it. Writing a novel take a LONG time. It isn’t a matter of coming up with an idea and poof it’s a book. It’s a lot of dedication, and hard work. You might as well love at least part of the process, or it isn’t worth doing it at all.

On the other half of this block, though, there won’t always be this huge overwhelming passion for sitting down to write. Overall, though, overall you should, at least, love what you are doing. However, that is yet another post for another time. This one is long enough. Now it’s time to stop pressuring myself, and write because I love to tell a good story.

Doesn’t help as The Hubby Man pointed out. I hit that midpoint in the book like a brick wall. It’s all come to a dead stop as well. As much as I cannot stand Miley Cyrus now, the song ‘Wrecking Ball’ comes to mind. Time to break through that wall.

Remember, L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, LOVE it) or it isn’t worth doing. Never has that been more accurate.

4 thoughts on “Unneeded Pressure

  1. I can completely relate to this. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have since I was eleven. In many ways, writing has been my deliverance. But there are times when I’m not writing that I feel guilty and anxious about my lack of results. I’m glad you’ve made the decision to write for you. Write what makes you happy. If we don’t enjoy writing, there’s no point in doing it. Writing is for us. If someone reads it, that’s just a bonus.

  2. I agree with you. It can become too much pressure. I decided to not stress it. not to set the goals and deadlines and be happy with what each day brings. I do need to try harder. I have what I call tentative goals they are flexible if i don’t hit it i move it forward.

    1. There you go, Cat. Yes, I’m indeed learning all of this. I found I got extremely frustrated about Wednesday when I halted my writing on my latest WIP. There is something so fundamentally wrong with it that I need to break it back down to plot, and work it out yet again. It’s left me not writing for a few days now, and feeling depleted. I will conquer this beast of a book, but now thanks to Brandon Sanderson, I think I know how to do it better.

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