Reflections on Writing While Stressed

Wednesday, May 06, 2020
The other day I read an interview with Jerry Seinfeld (I am a huge fan of his 90s sitcom, Seinfeld by the way!). And as I read it, something jumped out at me. The interviewer asked him if he can still make jokes right now. He replied, "Not really, to tell you the truth. I don’t really feel that funny. It’s hurting so many people, so brutally. I’m not in the mood to be funny. It’s like you’re a bird and then suddenly they change your cage. You’re just not sure who you are now."

This stayed with me after I read it, especially because I am having a hard time with my own creative work right now. Some days are better than others, but in reality, I'm not always processing things well enough to write.

I don't feel like writing many days. Of course, freelance work demands other wise, but that precious corner of the world where fiction writing lies is generally unexplored these days.

However, I do find some things help me (not all the time though). So I thought I'd share that with you.

First, consider ditching the goals - at least temporarily. 

I know, weird advice. But sometimes in the midst of stress, it's hard for me to meet my own demands. So, this year I may have had a game plan, but right now I just want to do as much self care as I can and for me, that includes accepting what I'm capable of right now.

Second, explore your past creative self.

If you could see my couch this weekend, you would have seen a mountain of notebooks. (I had way more than I thought.) I was exploring old stories, and half-written scenes. It was a joy. Although not much writing got done, it was nice to get in touch with that side without much demand.

Third, write buffet-style.

Okay, stay with me. In the midst of stress, I sometimes have a hard time staying with a single story (I think that's why I have so many incomplete ones lately). So I let myself pick and choose where I'm at with each one. I accept I may not finish them fast and with that, I enjoy it more. I also do the same with revising. So like going for the buffet table, don't limit yourself to one creative dish.

I hope this helps you write and relax and take care of you. Happy writing!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--I like the advice about writing buffet-style. I've written and submitted a few shorter pieces, which is a diversion from my querying process. The stories are satisfying because even though I'm not getting an immediate response (such as an acceptance), but I AM finishing up the piece quickly... and that's pleasant, compared to the never-ending wait that's involved with manuscript submissions.

It's like Kramer dabbling in various business ventures. Make your own pizza. A "bag" to hold petroleum. Hosting people overnight in drawers. A coffee table coffee table book. A cologne that smells like the beach. A rickshaw business, until a homeless guy took off with the rickshaw. (The list goes on and on. I love Seinfeld too. Everything in life can be compared to a Seinfeld episode.)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - absolutely! Actually, submitting is another thing that has helped me right now. It feels rewarding and I'm even glad for the slow response times from lit mags because it helps me linger on the success longer.

And yes!! Ah Kramer. I actually loved that pizza place idea. I would've totally gone to a restaurant like that.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Right now, I think we have to give ourselves the space to find what works. Today. Tomorrow? We may be on the lookout for the next best plan.

Renee Roberson said...

Yeah, I haven't had a lot of time to be creative lately. I'm even struggling figuring out what to talk about on social media accounts! I feel like I have massive writer's block when it comes to anything that's not related to a specific project I'm working on. The good news is that I've been adding more posts to my blog because I want to have content to pull from when I send out my e-newsletter, so at least I've had fun with that! It's given me a space to discuss some TV shows, books and other topics I've had jotted down in my notebook for awhile.

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sue - I totally agree! It changes every day at this point.

@Renee - I am the same way! I am kind of at a loss lately. I'm so glad you've had energy and creative drive for your blog though! That's so cool!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top