Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Writer, where we focus a little more on fiction writing. Thank you for your response to the two blogs Diane Capri and I published about psychopaths. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. She is an amazing writer and a good friend and I hope you’ll enjoy her book, Fatal Distraction.
What is your reactions to stress, change and pressure? We work in a volatile industry. Publishing is under huge pressure right now and no one can foresee the final outcome. Some of us are under contract to traditional publishing houses, are delighted to be there and have no desire for anything different. Some traditionally published authors are also putting out e-books. Other people could not get a deal, or didn’t try, or walked away from those same houses and are independently publishing on the internet, via Amazon, Smashwords and many others. Some of us are sitting on the fence, uncertain of what to do.
Stress and pressure are facts of life. They always have been. Whether we were running from the saber-toothed tiger or trying to get across town for a meeting, life is full of challenges. And we all know that what we do with that stress and how we handle it has a great impact on our longevity and health.
Purposefully, writers put themselves into a milieu where stress is always present. Deadlines (mine or my editors), reviews (good or bad), sales (high or low), and industry evolution (to hell or to heaven) are all part of the life of today’s writers. How do you handle this stress?
Here are three examples of response to the stressors of writing:
1. Every root vegetable, when cooked, can be firm and crunchy or soft and mushy. Itsimply depends on the time they spent in the boiling water. As a new bride, I can attest that potatoes, when cooked too long, turn to soup. So do carrots.
2. Eggs, on the other hand, when boiled, become hard. If you leave them in the hot water too long, they turn black and ugly.
3. Coffee beans, however, become aromatic and enticing when boiled. They pump up your heart rate and open your eyes.
When we are stressed, some of us curl in on ourselves and collapse emotionally. We can’t go on. Writing for publication is not a good business for you if this is your response, simply because the industry is in such a state of flux, there is no predictability. What worked yesterday, won’t work today, or tomorrow.
If you respond like an egg, this might not be a good time for you to shoot for publication either. Those black tinged, rubbery eggs are not appealing and they are most definitely not healthy. If your voice is getting strained, you’re having back trouble or muscle problems or headaches, this might be you – even if you aren’t aware of the stress you’re experiencing.
But if each change brings with it anticipation and excitement, a sense of a new day dawning, then welcome to the industry. You will succeed because you will be able to take all that stress and turn it into productive, energetic, exciting output that the world wants.
Which type are you? Can you think of a way to move from the veggie or egg stage to that of coffee? How can you make that change? Who can help you if it’s necessary? If your responses are more like the coffee bean, how did you learn that? And more importantly, how do you maintain it in these crazy times?
My thanks to Olivia McIvor for the originating idea for this post.