Musings, Personal, Writing

Under pressure

As an unpublished writer, I constantly question myself. I had a bit of a writing breakdown last week because I’m so desperate to finish my final revisions of my YA contemporary story but am struggling to find the time to fit it all in. But instead of giving myself a break and reminding myself I’ll be out of my full-time job soon  and will have lots of time to do it then, I’ve stuck a big  fat deadline on it and have put bags of pressure on myself to hit it.


Maybe because the I’m worried the agent I met will forget about me, maybe because I have lots of ideas for my next story and am torn between the two, or maybe I just enjoy beating myself up. I like to do things quickly. I’m not patient. It’s an annoying trait for someone keen to get into publishing, probably the slowest moving industry in the world. And I want to be a  “good” writer. I feel if I can’t revise my story properly and quickly then I must be failing at it.

Sometimes I think I’m so tough on myself because I want to succeed so much. I’ve shouted about my dream now to everyone and I feel loads of pressure to make it happen. I found this quote the other day and it struck a cord:

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.
Erma Bombeck


But I know that I can’t let this funk get me down. I need to take the pressure off. I want to enjoy writing and be excited to finish this story not annoyed by it. I don’t want to think about other people judging me and I want to stop judging myself. I need to stop setting myself impossible deadlines and just let the words flow when I feel inspired. Because if it’s meant to be, it will be. And even if this one doesn’t work out, I will keep trying with the next.

I just need to believe in myself. And if the dream gets lonely, I need to reach out to all my friends here and to make new writer fiends who can cheer me on my way. Because we all feel lonely as writers sometimes. We may get consumed by our dreams. But we can be there for one another.
And we can do this.



40 thoughts on “Under pressure”

  1. Take a deep breathe and relax. Don’t forget why you are doing it! You love writing and like any love relationship there are ups and downs. The up-lifting feeling will come again. Wish you all the best with your book. Cheers!

  2. I think when you have too much pressure on you then you can’t think straight and ideas won’t come to you as easy because you are more worried than getting down what you need to on paper. I think some pressure is great but when it is overloaded, I think it hinders rather than helps, so take care of yourself 🙂

  3. Hello again. I can sympathise with that – mint tea is the solution! Well it helps calm the nerves at any rate. You only have to look at some of the most well regarded writers now and the troubles they had in getting published – George Orwell, for instance. One thing that annoys me is the whole Kindle thing. Pretty soon e-Books will be taking over and traditional paperbacks etc. could be a thing of the past. Good if you’re into eco-friendly causes, which I am, but I’d also like to see my book in proper form! Best thing is just to keep writing and be positive. “You are always a genius!” as Mr. Jack Kerouac suggested as a tip for writing.

    Anyway, do you know of the website Probably the type of thing for the creative folk on here. It’s pretty damn groovy.

  4. We put enough pressure on ourselves without allowing someone else to do it too. I love Irene’s advice to you. We here have all the confidence in the world in you, but don’t let the knowledge of that pressure you. All in due time, and you will succeed. Big hugs!!

  5. I totally understand what you’re going through – but just being able to write about it is huge! Keep at it – so many people are too afraid to even dream. It’s scary, but the payoff will be huge, I just know it.

  6. The weird thing is that creative energy often flows when there is less pressure, and more relaxation. I think you should give yourself a break.
    Don’t worry about the agent. She’s not your only shot. And you met her IN PERSON. And she REMEMBERED your WORK. Whenever you finish and are ready to send the revision to her, just refresh her memory. You met at ABC event and talked about XYZ manuscript, and she told you to send it again.

    Deadlines are important, just like outlines and plans. Remember that they are not set in stone. Give yourself the liberty of moving things around.

    Revision/Editing can be a lonely, long process. And it’s better to do it when you’re fresh, and totally into it. Give yourself time. Until you’re ready to tackle it (again), find yourself some beta readers or a critique group who can give you more feedback.

  7. Wow, I’m not alone! I am doing the same thing you are. I had a publisher request a full last July. In August, they sent back this amazing gold-mine critique and edit with a request to resubmit should I wish to take their suggestions.

    I’m still revising.

    I want it to be perfect. I keep finding things I want to change or fix. There were chapters that have to be written in, others taken out. It is never ending. I, too, have put an impossible deadline on myself.

    I guess what I want to say is you aren’t alone, and you can do this. Everything in its own time, right? I’m sorry about you losing your job. I lost mine in June 2010. 2011 sucked for jobs but it seems things are picking up now. I have had time to finish my manuscript, almost complete the next one and draft the third. Try not to put more pressure on yourself than you need to. You have a magnitude of ‘friends’ out here in the blogosphere who will help and support you through this.

    *pat on the back*. You’re doing a great job..

    1. Really helps to hear where you are. We’re not alone yay! I didn’t actually lose my job, I’ve decided to leave and focus on writing. Scary but I’m going to go for it. It really helps knowing you guys are with me so thank you. And pat on the back to you too, keep going!

  8. Just keep doing what you love and keep believing in yourself. Everything else falls into place when you come from that place of love and patience : )

  9. I love your quote from Erma Bombeck. I believe that a person’s passion is unique to that person and if they don’t act on it, it leave them to find someone else.

    You are doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

  10. I totally agree with katesense. Keep doing what you love and you’ll reach your goal in the end. Remember what you love about writing and go to that place everytime you sit down in front of the computer!!!

  11. You are doing so well already! Just be patient with yourself – often our minds build our biggest obstacles by thinking we should be doing everything at once (have run into that one myself so many times…) We have to learn how to keep one eye on our dream while still cutting ourselves a break…
    We can do it! 🙂

  12. You are completely normal. There are times the writing isn’t fun. That’s the best time to take a walk or do something else. Get away from it and remind yourself you choose to do this. We don’t get paid (yet), but we show up to this job. It has to be because you love it.

    I’ve been shopping a manuscript around for two years. It’s not about being the quickest or the fastest, it’s about staying in the game. And writing skills improve with writing and taking workshops. So the manuscript will be great when you finish it and in 6 months it will likely need an overhaul. These things almost caused me to rip my hair out. Then I asked myself, “Do you want to stop?” And reminding myself that everyday I write is an active choice kinda put everything in perspective for me.

    You love this. You are invested in it. You can do this. Nothing is perfect in the first or the first ten drafts. It doesn’t have to be. That’s the beauty of revision.

  13. Seems like you’ve received lots of support but I wanted to throw my two cents worth in anyway for encouragement. Don’t rush, but work efficiently. This means, stop to watch a 30-min TV show. Read something you usually don’t have time for. Sit down in your yard and play with your pet. Relax. But balance this in short bursts and then go back to your writing. Just don’t OVER-do the writing part. As soon as you’re feeling stressed or it’s not fun, give it a short break then come back.

  14. Novel Girl is right. When writing is stressful and no longer fun, it’s time to do something else. I find stopping to read a good book helpful.

    May I use your photo of “watch me” on one of my blogs. It’s for lyme disease awareness and healing and I think the photo and quote are perfect. You say I can’t heal, “Watch me!”

    Nice blog. I’ll be visiting again.

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