Posted by: Lisa Hendrix
Currently Working On: Interview for Rhapsody Book Club feature on IMMORTAL OUTLAW
Mood: Pensive and Impatient.
First a couple of definitions, sort of. Stress means several things, two of which are relevant to this discussion.
There's the tension kind of stress, "the consequence of a failure to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats, whether real or imagined." (Wikipedia) That's the kind that everyone has been writing about so far, and which I experienced over the weekend as I drove 450 miles each way to look at colleges with three teenagers. Pity me.
And then there's the emphasis kind of stress, which, if applied correctly, can minimize that other kind. If you stress the proper things in your life as a writer—set a rational schedule, invest in education and adequate tools, surround yourself with supportive people, set aside time to recharge your body and your imagination—you can put words on paper with fewer of those perceived threats that will generate stress.
Face it, we hit the wall as writers when we're behind in our work and running on empty. We can't think. Can't write. Panic sets in and makes it worse. Deadlines loom like the Ghost of Christmas Future, bony finger pointing straight at our souls. We sweat. We can't sleep. We're stressed. All because we failed to find that balance Angie Fox mentioned. Because we didn't emphasize what was important.
And how do I know this? Because I have a history of failure to emphasize the correct things, of falling behind, of hitting the wall, of panic. I'm working on changing that, which is why this is a short post. Blogging is wonderful, and I love it (both reading posts and writing them), but it's not what I need to be doing right this moment. So to avoid further stress in my life, I'm going to make that choice, emphasize the important, and go finish those interview questions so I can send them off to my editor to be forwarded with plenty of time to spare. And then I'm going to bed, so that my brain is fully functional in the morning and I'm ready to write.
Correct choices. That's the key. I'm making mine.
What choices can you make today that will lower your stress levels tomorrow?