Writing a book is a challenge. As Churchill said:
To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
Many authors spend years thinking and stressing about writing a book and never once do they put pen to paper to get a single idea out. How many great books were never written due to anxiety?
The good news is there are ways to reduce, if not eliminate, the stress and anxiety you feel whenever you think about sitting down to write your magnum opus. They’ve certainly worked for me. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll work for you, but then again, they might.
1. The Vomit Draft
Your first draft should be a complete mess. Ignore spelling, grammar, punctuation, structure, finesse, etc. Just get all your ideas out and then clean it up later. Nobody ever needs to see your vomit draft, so don’t worry that anyone will. It’s just for you.
2. The Parking Lot
Not sure what the outline is for your book? Don’t know how to structure your ideas? Skip all that stuff and just start writing down individual thoughts and ideas and stick them in a doc you call your “parking lot.” No structure or order required, it’s just a bunch of notes. You park your ideas there so they’ll be there when and if you need them. Note: I use Google docs so I can add to my parking lot wherever I’m at. Sometimes when I’m out jogging I’ll have an idea and I get out my phone and use voice dictation to “write” a note into my parking lot.
3. Schedule writing but feel free to skip it
Not having a schedule to write can create stress. Scheduling a time to write can create stress. For many authors, the trick is to schedule time (so you’re not stressed about not having a schedule) but don’t feel bad if you skip a writing session (so you don’t stress about it coming up). Make space, but don’t feel obligated to use it.
Get an accountability buddy. Find a friend or writing group who will write with you and help you actually write on those days when you need that little extra push. Having a writing companion can really take the stress off of feeling like it’s ALL on your shoulders.
What other ways have you found to reduce the stress of working on your book?Liked it? Share it!