Too Stressed Out to Write?

Are you having trouble concentrating? Are you finding it hard to settle down and focus on anything at all, much less write, much less be creative?

There's so much anxiety floating around. Everything feels so uncertain. And there are so many distractions.

You may be surrounded by literal noise at the moment -- for example, if you have kids staying at home with you. But there is also so much mental noise.

You might find yourself compulsively checking the news, checking social media, looking for clues as to what's going to happen, when everything will finally go back to normal.

It's possible to spend hours and hours that way, and after the first five minutes, you're probably not learning anything new. You're probably not even making yourself feel better -- more likely, you're just making the anxiety worse. But it can feel impossible to stop, especially if you're not able to concentrate on anything else.

Writing might be the last thing on your mind right now. Or you might have filed it in the category of, "Another thing that I have to put on hold right now."

This might seem like the worst possible time for writing.

Actually, it's the best time. Seriously.

Writing can help get you through this. And the disruption, the stress, can actually end up helping you as a writer.

I'll explain the second part in a minute. But first, imagine if you could mentally escape from the stress for a while, go to a safe calm place in your imagination. And imagine your feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when you've written something you're proud of.

If you can use this time for your writing, you won't be trapped, just waiting for things to go back to normal. You'll be in control. You'll be getting something wonderful out of the situation.

Instead of feeling like your life's on hold, you'll be building your life as a writer.

Maybe all this sounds impossible right now -- easier said than done. If so, I have some help for you, which I'll tell you about in a minute.

But first, I want to talk about disruption, that feeling that nothing is normal.

Scientists have discovered that it's easier to form new habits when your normal routine is disrupted. For example, if someone wants to stop smoking, the ideal time might be during a move to a new city, or when switching jobs. When everything's up in the air, it gives you a chance to reinvent things from scratch.

So, if your normal life feels like it's been disrupted right now, it's an opportunity to reinvent yourself as a writer, to get more serious about writing, more creative, more productive.

If that sounds hard to do under the circumstances, we have a special writing course that will help.

It's called "Writer's Training," and it's all about building the mental skills that you need to succeed as a fiction writer. Skills such as:

- writing when you're totally stressed out and it feels impossible to concentrate or settle down

- writing when it feels like you have no free time or privacy

- learning how to turn on your imagination and creativity when you need them, like flipping a light switch

- creating a vivid story world, and shutting out mental noise so you can travel there in your imagination.

If you're part of our email group, I'll let you know when the course opens for registration.

In the meantime, if you can...

- take some time away from the news and reread one of your favorite books, a book that you love and admire so much that it makes you want to write something as wonderful yourself.

- spend one or two minutes doing something related to your writing. Jot down a few ideas, write the first line of a poem or the name of a character you can write about. Even if you only spend a minute or two, it's a step forward.

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