Tips to Destress Your Writing Life

Every writer dreams of a point in her career where she has a book coming out, one in revisions, and one still in dream stages. This point requires guest posts, party planning, and book club visits. People want to hear about her book, they want to talk about how she wrote it, and they want to buy it.

It’s the best dream ever.

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This might be the best dream ever. So cute!

The reality, dear reader, it’s still awesome, but it’s a lot. As a someone who, at 2 am last night, finished rewriting two-thirds of a book in four weeks, I have a few thoughts to make it a little more manageable.

1. Don’t procrastinate. At least not a lot. Have one writing goal a day and MEET IT! Revising that scene when you have two months until its due might not seem that important, but if you put it off enough times so you can stay up late watching season finales on your DVR, you’ll regret it. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. And as Colleen mentioned yesterday, do those guest posts as they come in.

2. Stop Googling yourself. This is so fun at first, when you might get a new mention once a week, or a new Goodreads review. You want to share the good news and promote those that said kind words — but this can quickly snowball to where it becomes difficult to keep up. At that point, let it go. It’s okay if you don’t retweet every good review you get. Those reviews aren’t for you anyway. And if the New York Times Book Review does a write up on your debut, someone will let you know.

3. Work sprints. Give yourself a small chunk of time, say 30 minutes, and focus on one writing task. Maybe it’s writing a post (like this one), or working on a chapter. During that time, don’t check email or Twitter or Goodreads (see #2 above). Just work on that task. After the time is up, that’s when you can check your social media or scrounge up some more chocolate. Keeping it a small amount of time won’t seem overwhelming, but allowing yourself uninterrupted work time will help you be more efficient in the long run.

4. Make good choices. When you have deadlines popping up faster than wights on the Game of Thrones (this means a lot if you aren’t a GoTs watcher), it’s easy to skip workouts and eat fast food. Don’t. This will only make it harder to maintain the pace. Make sure to move your body and try to eat a banana before your devour the super-sized bag of Cheetos. I do fully condone coffee — drink as much as is needed.

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5. Ask for help. There are people who are proud of you and recognize the hard work you’re putting in. If it’s becoming too much, ask these lovely people for help. Maybe they’ll help with yard work or watching your kids. Maybe they’ll bring you food or toilet paper. It takes a village to bring a book into the world, and not all the villagers are in the publishing industry. Many are our friends and family that offer their support.

6 (bonus). Reevaluate. Hopefully, you’re overwhelmed feeling is due to a deadline or book launch, but if you find yourself constantly struggling, then it’s time to reevaluate everything you’re trying to accomplish. Writing is wonderful, but not to the detriment of friends and family, life and health. Maybe you need to slow down your publication schedule, or cut back on your guest posts. Be honest with what you can accomplish. You can’t enjoy this wonderful publishing ride if you’re too overwhelmed to notice it.

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Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

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