Camy here, talking about the one thing I struggle against the most when it comes to writing—myself.
I don’t like it, but I am a very emotional writer. Meaning, my writing motivation is often fed by my feelings.
I find I write less in wintertime because the season makes me a little depressed, more sluggish, less motivated. I know I’m not alone.
Other times during the year, when something happens to emotionally impact me, my writing goes out the window. High stress situations will also sap my creativity.
This is not a good thing when I’m under deadline. While my editor might be sympathetic, I’m still UNDER CONTRACT to turn in a manuscript. A publishing house is a business, and I have been hired as a freelance contractor to deliver goods (my manuscript) on time.
In short, I’m still struggling to find a way to write despite depression, despite stress, despite distraction, because it’s my JOB to write, and I can’t shirk on my job.
In hindsight, I wish I’d developed these skills when there wasn’t so much riding on my performance—before I was contracted. Once I became contracted, I realized that my normal method of handling depression and stress—eating copious amounts of rocky road ice cream and nagging Ruthy for her cream puff recipe, oh, and not writing—wasn’t going to work.
So now, I am learning stress and emotion management. It doesn’t always work, because depression is something I have a hard time fighting (I have mild depression that can be triggered by external stimuli—I’ve been that way since I was a teen).
One thing that sounds like a broken record but which really does work is write a little every day. Whether I work on my contracted novel, or on something else just for me, or on a short story for my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers, I try to write at least 100 words a day. (Fiction words, mind you—emails and blog posts and articles don’t count.)
Most days, those 100 words are easy. Other days, it’s like trying to squeeze my size 14 bum into size 6 jeans—a lot of heaving, ho-ing, sweating, and grunting.
But that little burst of creativity does two things:
1) It keeps my writing momentum strong. If I stop writing for a day, my depression or stress might keep me from picking my writing up again for days or weeks.
2) It somehow helps to keep the emotions at bay. I feel calmer, even a little happier, because I accomplished those 100 words for the day.
Another thing I try to do is read my Bible every day. Even just a chapter.
You can pick and choose your own method of spiritual relaxation, especially if you’re not a Christian.
I am, so I turn to my Bible—it’s a no-brainer and it really does help me. It calms me like nothing else and helps me to emotionally tackle those 100 words for the day if I haven’t done them yet.
Whatever you choose to do, pick something that will calm you, center you, inspire you, and focus you.
It won’t be a cure for whatever emotion is roiling inside you or pulling you down, but it will help in small ways to help you keep your writing momentum with those 100 words.
I’m still struggling with this, so if any of you have ideas, feel free to comment.
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveaways!