Writing in a Stress-Filled World:
In the last few months, I have been trying desperately to finish a manuscript I’ve worked on for some time. This new WIP has proven a challenge; the story does not take place within an historical era familiar to me, and the plot traverses several continents. The time period and political situations in the parallel stories required a great deal of research, and I am adamant about historical authenticity. Consequently, it has been slowly progressing, but I am anxious to move on to the next project.
Like most writers, I do not live in an isolated world with my computer. We authors, like all other inhabitants of this planet, have obligations to others. I have a full-time job and a husband. No servants clean the house. There are no children to help with cooking, gardening, or cleaning. My job also has added stress to my life this year. My school is piloting a new curriculum. Much of the material for this unit I have had to create myself. This new project consumes a great deal of time, and some of the literary works are new to me. In addition to the actual teaching, my colleagues and I have to participate in professional development training, complete paperwork, and perform other duties.
Writing under such circumstances is challenging. Often, I find myself squeezing writing into a typical day and feeling guilty if those other obligations prevent my writing every day. Who needs guilt, right? So why write? All authors have their own reasons as to why they write, but for me, writing is like breathing. I certainly am not making millions off my pen. As I said, I still teach, but writing gives me an outlet to relieve my stress. The creative energy I invest in writing has sustained me in times of grief, stress, and yes, joy. When I’ve gone periods without writing, I feel as if a part of me is missing. Yes, the house will still need cleaning, but even that chore provides inspiration. I might create a character that loves or hates housework. The job—thankfully—will be there, and I’ve used my experience as a teacher in creating teacher-characters. My husband, the love of my life, is always at my side and soothes my stress. My love for him fuels the heart of every true love romance I’ve ever written. When the pressing obligations of daily life need a creative outlet, the writing takes me away to a place where –at least temporarily—the stress, chaos and even all consuming-bliss of life can bloom into a glorious flower.