For many of us, the beginning of September brings with it the beginning of a new school year, and whole boatload of stress. Today I’d like to talk about what effect that stress can have on your writing.
For me, stress tends to bring my writing output to a screeching halt, or something very much like it. The first week of school is not a good writing week.
How do you deal with that? Gaps in writing output are bad, right?
I have heard some experienced writers say that, with practice, it is possible to harness whatever emotions you’re experiencing and channel them into productive writing. Needless to say, I have not yet achieved that state of emotion-harnessing. There’s the odd time I escape into my writing just to get a break from whatever is going on, but most of the time I retreat into something less demanding.
Writing has its own stresses, and can be both emotionally and mentally taxing. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, trying to write, particularly trying to write well, may be next to impossible.
Is this necessarily a bad thing? If you don’t deal with the stress and stay in that non-writing place for an extended period of time, yes. But taking a break from your project for a while can actually be good for both you and the project.
Sometimes ideas just need some time to simmer.
This last week, I did no writing at all. But I realized that I had telegraphed a particular event in my novel instead of foreshadowing it.
For those of you who don’t know, telegraphing is essentially being too obvious. Foreshadowing should just be a hint, I pretty much told the reader exactly what was going to happen later. That’s bad.
So if you find yourself stumped by stress, whether because of the start of school or another reason, don’t freak out about it. Maybe a little break to recharge while you ride out the storm is just what your story needs. Just make sure to come back as soon as possible.