‘Thinking rationally and realistically helps us to be more mentally healthy, relaxed and happy.’
Today’s post is all about Stress, with some advice from the wonderful Christine Webber on how to combat it. As well as being an author, Christine is a psychotherapist. Today she shares a few tips when faced with ‘The Stress That Stops Us Writing’
Christine Webber writes across the fiction and non-fiction genre. Her novel, Who’d Have Thought it, has just been released on audio (see details below) and her next novel is due for publication early in the New Year.
I’ll hand you over to Christine now, so I do hope you enjoy…
The Stress That Stops Us Writing
by Christine Webber
I think we feel slightly ashamed to admit that we’re stressed – after all, we’re not in a boat on the Med trying to keep our kids alive as we escape from a war-torn country.But writing can be very stressful – and for lots of us, the stress is at its worst when we sit down to start work.
It’s bad enough that we don’t have enough time to write, so why – when we’ve carved out a few hours for our work-in-progress – do we find it so difficult to crack on?
Basically, I think, it’s all about fear. But it can be resolved. And the way to do it – and this works for most problems in life – is by altering our thoughts as well as our behaviour.
The behaviour is often easier, so let’s start with that. If getting down to writing is a nightmare, you need to experiment with ways that will help you to operate more effectively.
Some individuals realise that they’re more energetic at certain times of day – and reschedule their time to write when they’re at their best.
Others find that if they terminate each writing session in the middle of a sentence, it’s much easier to get going the next time.
Another solution is to tell yourself you’ll only write for thirty minutes before taking a social-media break. Half an hour doesn’t feel onerous. And often, once started, you find it easy to continue.
My best stress-buster is to delay working on the start of a piece till I’ve written much of the rest of it. Writing a ‘beginning’ sentence can be agonising. I can waste all day on it and accomplish nothing. But I’ve found that the brain is remarkably good at coming up with the required first few words while I’m busy with the rest of my book or article. Try it, and see!
Or you could use a strategy I devised once for a patient in my psychotherapy practice. She was a wonderful writer, yet every morning she was seized with panic, convinced that anything she penned that day would be rubbish. As a result, she spent hours washing windows, phoning a friend, or popping out for a pint of milk. I’m sure you get the picture!
So, I suggested that as soon as she woke up, she should go and sit in front of her computer – before she had brushed her teeth, had a coffee or even been to the loo – and just write something. Anything at all. For some reason this worked; her stress levels dropped, and her output increased dramatically.
Now, for the hard bit. Let’s attend to the thoughts that are preventing you from working.
They may go something like this:
- I’m stupid
- No one rates me
- I’m a worse writer than anyone I know
If this sounds like you, make a note of exactly what thoughts are going through your mind when you start to write. There may be quite a long list! Look at it, carefully.
Ask yourself whether these thoughts are true. At first you may answer that they are. But look again. Are you sure they’re 100% accurate? Of course they’re not. Once you can accept that fact, you can replace your negative thinking with something more appropriate, such as: There are better writers than me, but there are plenty of worse ones. I’m working hard, and learning all the time.
Thinking rationally and realistically helps us to be more mentally healthy, relaxed and happy.
Finally, if you feel overwhelmed with worries about deadlines, money, improving as a writer and so on, why not try mindfulness? It really works.
If you’re interested, there’s an explanation of it on my website: http://www.christinewebber.com/mindfulness.php
Christine Webber, formerly a TV news presenter, is a radio broadcaster, psychotherapist and hybrid author.
Her latest novel, Who’d Have Thought It? has just come out as an audiobook.
Website ~ http://www.christinewebber.com/
Twitter ~ @1chriswebber
A year after discovering that her husband no longer loves her, Dr. Annie Templeton wakes up with a sudden relish for singledom. However, she soon realizes that being single in your fifties is very different from being single in your twenties.
How, she wonders, do people of my age – with careers, adult children doing unwise things with unwise people, parents going gaga, and friends falling ill, or in or out of love – ever have the time and energy to find a new partner?
Who’d Have Thought It? is a romantic comedy, which will make you laugh and cry – often at the same time. (See HERE for my review)
Purchase Link ~ Who’d Have Thought it?